”Alex Thomson hävdar att rebellerna från den Fria syriska armén försökte leda in honom i en fälla. Avsikten ska enligt honom själv ha varit att få honom dödad av regeringsstyrkor – för att få president Bashar al-Assad att framstå i dålig dager.”
Så här beskriver Alex Thomson upplevelsen.
”So we while away the time, waiting for the UN to move – they’re the only way across the lines with any degree of safety of course. But time drags. Our deadline begins to loom. And there’s this really irritating guy who claims to be from “rebel intelligence” and won’t quite accept that we have a visa from the government. In his book foreign journos are people smuggled in from Lebanon illegally and that’s that. We don’t fit his profile.
He and his mates are making things difficult for our driver and translator too – their Damascus IDs and our Damascus van reg are not helping. This is new. Different. Hostile. This is not like Homs or Houla and still the UN meeting drags on in the hot afternoon…
We decide to ask for an escort out the safe way we came in. Both sides, both checkpoints will remember our vehicle. Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow. We move out behind. We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s-land. At that point there was the crack of a bullet and one of the slower three-point turns I’ve experienced. We screamed off into the nearest side-street for cover. Another dead-end. There was no option but to drive back out onto the sniping ground and floor it back to the road we’d been led in on.
Predictably the black car was there which had led us to the trap. They roared off as soon as we re-appeared. I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian Army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus.”