Ghatan Sleiba, from the pro-Assad al-Dunya channel, says he has been providing intelligence to the rebels for months
Martin Chulov in Antakya, Turkey
guardian.co.uk, Monday 2 July 2012
"A presenter from the Syrian regime's main television channel has defected to the opposition and revealed he has secretly provided intelligence to rebels for the past seven months.
Ghatan Sleiba, a long-time anchor and reporter for the al-Dunya channel, is believed to be the first high-profile defector from Damascus's powerful propaganda arm. "I am the first and I will probably be the last," he said in an interview with the Guardian in southern Turkey.....
He claimed opposition guerillas were now in quasi-control of much of the east, especially the countryside surrounding major towns and cities.
"This is one of the things that they never wanted us to talk about. What we were doing was not reporting. It was simply acting as the tongue of the regime. I stayed as long as I could to help the revolutionaries, but I couldn't take it any more.
Al-Dunya is part-owned and supervised by Bashar al-Assad's maternal cousin Rami Makhlouf, a key member of the inner sanctum. It has pushed the official narrative that the Syrian uprising is a plot by the west and key Sunni Arab powers to use al-Qaida-linked insurgents to overthrow the regime.
Sleiba said that before interviews he regularly gave people answers to questions he was about to ask them. "Those answers and the subjects of things to talk about were given to us by the head of the Ba'ath party in the area, or by the political security division."...."