Activists want to combat pro-regime news agencies Damascus – George Al Shami A Syrian pro-revolutionary activist group has launched a new local newspaper, Our Sham, to provide an independent alternative to state-owned news agencies. “We did not follow the Syrian papers before the revolution and we don’t recognise the government newspapers either,” one activist told Arabstoday. “There is nothing in them apart from what the president is doing.” The campaigner claimed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime uses state media to “promote its ideas.” Mohamed Balkash, another Syrian activist, reportedly established the newspaper with a group of friends – the product of an idea born out of the revolution. “We’re considered one of the first newspapers to have emerged out of Syria’s uprising,” he said. “We decided to turn Our Sham into the voice of the revolution.” The media campaign has not been without its difficulties. Government troops have stormed Our Sham’s newspaper offices on a number of occasions. Balkash’s newspaper is particularly popular in Aleppo, where many residents remain cut off from the outside world as Free Syrian Army (FSA) and regime forces vie for control of the city. Rebels control the majority of Aleppo, but Assad’s forces are still in control of significant neighbourhoods in the city.