By Ben Brumfield and Saad Abedine, CNN
(CNN) — It’s not quite as epic as posing with a tiger a la Vladimir Putin. But Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has joined Instagram and the photos are propagandastically fantastic.
No ugly images of bloody battle fields taint the feed of the president caught in the middle of a brutal civil war. Instead, it’s photo after photo of him and his wife being caring — and being loved.
There’s al-Assad talking to a little girl by the side of a hospital bed. There’s his wife wiping away a little boy’s tear. There’s al-Assad intently listening to a group of women. There’s his wife intently listening to a group of women. And lots of pictures of him being mobbed, greeted, hugged by adoring masses.
The embattled president announced he was adding Instagram to his social media blitz last week via a message posted to his Twitter account. He also has his own Facebook page and a YouTube channel.
And, judging from the comments, fans in Syria, Russia and Turkey.
“God bless you,” “We love you,” and “We want you to win this war” are common comments posted on the images.