Cell-phone videos prompt Syria to ban iPhones

Steve Jobs' Syrian-born father condemns regime's "brutality" in YouTube clip.

December 5, 2011 03:25
1 minute read.

iphones R 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Syria has said it will ban the use of iPhones, an apparent bid by the embattled Damascus regime to stem the flow of mobile-phone footage exposing its brutal eight-month clampdown on anti-government protests.

The move, announced Saturday by the Finance Ministry’s Customs Department, follows this summer’s shut-down of all Internet and 3G mobile networks in an attempt to keep protesters from coordinating demonstrations.

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Leaked cellphone videos from Syria have been one of the prime movers of public opinion within the country and abroad against the Bashar Assad government.

Footage has emerged almost daily showing security forces firing on unarmed protesters and humiliating and abusing detainees.

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In a short YouTube clip uploaded late last week, the Syrian-American biological father of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs condemned the ongoing crackdown, which is believed to have claimed around 4,000 lives and wounded countless others.

“I am in solidarity with the Syrian people,” said Abdulfattah “John” Jandali, a political scientist-turned-casino manager born to a wealthy Muslim family in Homs, the central Syrian city at the heart of the anti-Assad uprising.

“I reject the brutality and killing that the Syrian authorities are committing against the unarmed Syrian people. And because silence is participation in this crime, I declare my participation in the ‘Syrian Sitin’ on YouTube,” he said.

The “Syrian Sit-in” campaign is a series of taped messages uploaded to YouTube from concerned Syria watchers worldwide.

Jandali, 80, now lives in Nevada. In 1955 he and his American then-girlfriend became parents while still unmarried, and shortly after their baby son’s birth gave him up for adoption. Jobs was raised by adoptive parents in California and had little contact with his biological mother and virtually none with Jandali, who only in 2005 learned the famous entrepreneur was his biological son.

Jobs died in October at age 56 after an eight-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
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