When it comes to natural disasters, the divide between assumption and reality can be stark. Or downright absurd.
Hours after Superstorm Sandy howled its way through the East Coast this week, unleashing a fatal trail of destruction, global reactions included outpouring of sympathy and support.
But not in Syria, where some pro-government supporters welcomed the superstorm when it hit Monday, claiming the natural disaster is the result of high-tech secret engineering.
The superstorm killed dozens across the U.S. East Coast as it ravaged the region with heavy rains, snow and flooding. Millions remain without power as it swirls north.
“Sources confirmed to us that Hurricane Sandy that is slamming the U.S. was set off by highly advanced technologies developed by the heroic Iranian regime that supports the resistance, with coordination of our resistive Syrian regime,” pro-government group News Network of the Syrian Armed Forces said in a Facebook posting.
“This is the punishment for whoever dares to attack Syria’s (Bashar) al-Assad and threaten peace and stability.”
Various factions of pro-government and anti-government groups regularly use social media to spread their message.
Comments accompanying the post — which had more than 300 likes — ranged from derision to support.
“This is complete baloney by the regime and its thugs,” one said on the comment section of the post. “There is nothing worse than this nonsense. If you have such technologies, why doesn’t your great sophisticated regime get the temperature to be a bit higher in Russia and make the skies rain in the dry lands in Syria?”
Supporters of the pro-government group slammed those doubting the claim.
“Why are you surprised by such a heroic act that our special forces carried out with the help of the Iranian experts?,” one posted. ” Yes this is the great work of the brave lions of Syria in retaliation to the evil conspiracy against our great nation. We will have our victory even if it will take some time.”
Battles between anti-government fighters and Syrian forces have left scenes of destruction nationwide since the uprising against al-Assad started in March 2011.
An internationally sanctioned truce has failed to take hold.
International envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, pushed for government forces and rebels to stop fighting during Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday that started Friday and ended Monday. But the violence continued almost unabated.