The media's sensationalised mangling of the Syrian conflict went from bad to worse last weekend with a New York Times article that asserted --- on the basis of little evidence and a distorted quote --- that there are "no secular fighters" left in Syria.
This morning I dealt with questions from Monocle 24's Midori House about the article to deal with wider points: 1. The insurgency is a collection of many factions, some of which have "secular" outlooks and members. Asking "are there any secular rebels left?" --- from the New York Times' "reader-baiting" approach --- is just as ludicrous as asking "are there any Islamists" in the insurgency.
2. This article and others have been fed by the escalating myths that the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra is "Al-Qa'eda linked" and is dominating the insurgency. To repeat: JAN is only one of many factions in the opposition and it is not tied to Al Qa'eda.
3. Nor does the myth of "radical Islamists" do us any good in appreciating the countries beyond Syria amid the "Arab Spring". The post-uprising Governments in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya do not fit that simplistic label.