One Syrian refugee in Jordan shared a joke about the loyalty her family were expected to display for the incumbent Syrian president Bashar al-Assad:
"The fighters used to come to the house and ask the children their names. 'Bashaar, Basheer and Bushra', they would reply, all starting with same letter. We said it is because we love Bashar (Assad) and named them after him!"
Pro-Assad propaganda has long been used by the Syrian regime to link images of the long-term president to deep ideas of Syrian national identity. As this anonymous journalist in Damascus wrote for the Guardian in 2011, at the start of the Syrian conflict, 'Syrians have (...) been besieged by relentless propaganda,' and, 'children are taught to exalt Assad.' The joke recounted in this interview shows how weary Syrian many citizens have become of the enforced performance of loyalty.