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Al Nusrah public relations release

Via SITE Intelligence, an excerpt of a video release by the Al Nusrah Front's Himam News Agency shows members of the group fixing an electrical transformer. The full 4-minute video was posted on jihadist internet forums on July 27, 2013, and reflects the latest attempt by Syria's al Qaeda affiliates to soften their image. See Threat Matrix coverage: The softer side of Salafist-Jihad.

READER COMMENTS: "Al Nusrah public relations release"

Posted by Dr Shane Lawrence at August 5, 2013 6:58 AM ET:

The video showing the fixing of the generator
is an attempt to lower only immediate local tensions
and to repeat the previous message that the goal
is not to hurt the local people.It seems to be only a local
attempt and should not deflect from the general Al Nasrah
Dr Shane Lawrence
Cambridge UK.

Posted by blert at August 6, 2013 8:46 AM ET:

Did they fill that transformer with water?

Such devices are supposed to be filled with special oils -- normally dyed -- and very, very, very, dry.

The cylinder at the top exists as expansion relief -- required in a hot desert environment -- even for transformer oils.

As for getting the correct fluid... I can't imagine where the fanatics could lay their hands on any. I'd be amazed if there is any local production -- for a thousand miles around.

Such fluids are very expensive -- at least by Syrian standards -- and in ordinary use last decades at a stretch. That's why demand for such fluids is so low.

More generally, it appears that these fellows are trying to bring back the hydro-power associated with the Euphrates dam system. While the dams were captured intact, the distribution system was a casualty of war. It also appears that the local Sunnis are winging it as linemen.