Syrian regime ignores Luna al-Shibl’s funeral: Media coverage absent

During the funeral procession of Luna al-Shibl from Abdul Rahman al-Sadiq Mosque in Damascus - July 6, 2024 (Sham FM)

During the funeral procession of Luna al-Shibl from Abdul Rahman al-Sadiq Mosque in Damascus - July 6, 2024 (Sham FM)

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A number of citizens attended the funeral of Luna al-Shibl, the media advisor to the Syrian regime president, Bashar al-Assad, this afternoon, Saturday, July 6, just hours after the Syrian Presidency announced her death following a car accident a few days prior.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights noted that al-Shibl’s funeral was quiet, with no official presence and attended only by those close to her. She was buried in the Dahdah cemetery in Damascus instead of her birthplace, As-Suwayda.

The Observatory pointed out that “Syrian TV presenters did not wear black in mourning her death, and no videos of Luna al-Shibl’s funeral were broadcast, unlike other officials and associates of the Syrian regime who have passed away in recent years.”

The absence of media coverage of the funeral was also notable. According to a monitoring by Enab Baladi, it was found that the official media outlets of the regime, led by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) and the newspapers Tishreen and Al-Baath, did not publish any news, post, or photo regarding al-Shibl’s funeral.

Sham FM local radio was the only media outlet close to the regime that posted a brief note about the funeral, accompanied by only three pictures and no videos.

In its post, Sham FM wrote, “The funeral procession of the special advisor to the Presidency, Luna al-Shibl, to her final resting place at the Dahdah cemetery in Damascus, with official and popular attendance, after prayers at Abdul Rahman al-Sadiq Mosque.”

According to photos of the funeral also monitored by Enab Baladi, al-Shibl’s body was not draped with the regime’s flag, contrary to the usual practice for other officials and officers at their funerals.

Additionally, the period for condolences was limited to only two hours on Sunday, July 7, from 6 PM to 8 PM, as noted in the obituary that was circulated on local pages.

On Friday, July 5, the Syrian Presidency page announced the death of Luna al-Shibl, three days after announcing she had been involved in a car accident on one of the roads leading to Damascus.

On July 2, the political and media office of the Syrian Presidency stated that al-Shibl had a car accident, causing a brain hemorrhage.

At that time, SANA quoted the office of the Syrian Presidency, stating that the accident caused the car she was in to veer off the road, resulting in several collisions that led to severe injuries.

Analysts and journalists cast doubt on the Syrian regime’s narrative about al-Shibl being in a car accident, with some indicating that the incident occurred in an area under heavy monitoring by the Fourth Division, led by Maher al-Assad.

Luna al-Shibl’s name gained prominence during the Syrian revolution after she was appointed as the media advisor for the presidential palace and Bashar al-Assad.

She worked for Al Jazeera channel for seven years before leaving in 2010 along with four Lebanese broadcasters and returning to Syria.

She appeared as a member of the regime’s delegation at the Geneva 2 conference in January 2014, stirring controversy with her smile during a speech by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem despite the seriousness of the situation.

She was married to Lebanese journalist Sami Kleib and later to the former president of the National Union of Syrian Students and former member of the People’s Assembly, Ammar Saati.

Al-Shibl was considered one of the prominent figures in the Syrian regime’s government and had sanctions imposed on her by the US Treasury Department along with several military and party figures associated with the Syrian regime.

 

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