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Pro-Assad anchorman seeks asylum in France, leaves state TV

Zaman al Wasl’s investigative team, which looks into the Syrian war criminals in the ranks of refugees in the EU, received information indicating the arrival of Rami Nofal, an anchorman in the state TV.

Nofal promoted the Assad regime and justified its crimes against Syrian civilians and contributed in distorting the truth since the beginning of the revolution until 2019. Based on the information we received, Nofal arrived in France about a month ago from Beirut, with a type D visa that, according to Nofal himself, was provided to him by the help of the former French ambassador in Damascus.

According to our sources, Nofal applied for asylum and an interview with the Ofpra was set only a few days after, a record time considering the average waiting time for such interviews takes between 3 months and a year.

One witness acquainted with Nofal said that, “At the start of the revolution, Rami worked as a French-language news anchor for the regime’s official TV channel and then later the Arabic-language. He also was part of the regime’s media team during the Geneva negotiations, more than once, after which he was promoted to hosting several live talk shows. Throughout 2019, his program, which he prepared and hosted, discussed regime military operations and celebrated what he called the victories of the Syrian Arab Army.”

According to sources, there are no evidence that hint at Nofal’s defection from the regime nor his support of the revolution. However, he seems to present himself as part of the opposition in France, which in one of his episode titled “Special Coverage of the Syrian Air defense responses to American, British, and French Aggression Against Syria,” he described as an occupying country that committed crimes against the Syrian people.

Our investigation team met with a defected journalist living in Europe, who said that, “After the start of the Syrian revolution and a series of defections of media professionals, everyone appearing on Assad's official channels requires security approval, since only trusted media professional that were approved by the security services were allowed to appear on live programs, for fear that they might say something against the regime or that may be inconsistent with its policies.

“For years, only media persons closest to the regime and those who support it were left. Any journalist defecting and joining the revolution or the opposition in 2020 is absurd. They are merely fleeing what they believe is a sinking boat, as an attempt to save their own hides after working for years in the service of the regime, distorting and obscuring the truth and justifying its crimes. And I am willing to testify before a court or before  .”

Our team met with Lahran Taha, who currently lives at the same building designated for recent arrivals seeking asylum as Rami and his brother, who told us that, “Since his arrival at the camp, he has sought to get close to the Syrian refugees here, getting to know their stories and giving promises of helping bring their families from Syria to France. He arrived with us in the same flight from Beirut, during which he claimed that he was opposed to the regime, which we later discovered was a lie.

“After we knew his full name and a simple Google search, we learned about Nofal's previous work for the regime’s media machine for over 10 years of revolution, and upon confronting him, his discourse changed to threats and intimidation tactics of a number of journalists living in the same building.”

The investigation team obtained a 15-minute recording in which Rami Nofal brags about himself as a proud supporter of  Bashar al-Assad, threatening some journalists and admitting to his past work, which was revealed to be known by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French ambassador, and other ministry officials.

The Syrian Journalists Association took action and headed towards the refugee housing are in Paris, and contacted international organizations concerned with the protection of journalists to determine the best course of action and to ensure the protection of the journalists threatened by Rami Nofal by taking the necessary legal measures. 

Zaman Al Wasl
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