The Syrian revolution has attracted more than its share of Western war tourists. For the last couple years, they've been pouring in, mostly through Syria's border with Turkey — chasing skills, thrills and war stories alongside either the native Syrian rebels or the foreign jihadists who've hijacked the struggle.
But two self-proclaimed Los Angeles gangbangers — "Wino" from Westside Armenian Power and "Creeper" from Sun Valley GW-13 — might be the motliest of the bunch.
"Puros Sureños puttin' it down in the Middle East," Creeper reps in a video pulled off Wino's Facebook page this weekend by the Middle East Media Research Institute. In the video, they flash their L.A. gang tattoos, fire AK-47s through a crumbled stone wall at the "enemigas" and give shout-outs to their favorite Sureños back at home in SoCal: "Mr. Criminal from Silver Lake, Capone from Cyclones, Crazy Loco from Pasadena and Pink Lady."
(I haven't been able to independently verify that the video is legit, but extensive battle logs on Wino's Facebook page would make this one of the most elaborate stunts in the history of war tourism.)
The two have apparently been "gangbanging in Syria" for over a year, and at one point were running with a third dude claiming Westside Armenian Power. Almost reminds me of that time when UCLA math major Chris Jeon helped the Libyan rebels take down Muammar Qaddafi over summer vacation.
Kind of counterintuitively, though, the L.A. gangsters seem to be siding with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Which actually makes some sense for Wino — because in general, Syria's Armenian Christians are rooting for the country's embattled leader by default. For all his downfalls, Assad has always advocated for religious minorities; so for some, he's at least a lesser evil than the radical Islamists flooding the country and terrorizing any non-Sunni Muslims in their path.
"I DO ANYTHINK TO PORTECT MY PPL ONLY MY PPL ALL ARMENIANS AND READY TO DIE FOR MY PPL," Wino writes elsewhere on his Facebook page. He also claims that Syrian rebels posted his photo as a kind of "Wanted" ad on one of their pages. "They want me all day still dont give a fuck let them come and fine me," he says.
As for Creeper — your guess is as good as mine.
"YOU FOOLS WISH DRESS LIKE THIS WE ALL FRONT LINE HERE," Wino writes beneath a photo of himself decked out in what looks to be a Hezbollah uniform (above). Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based political and militant group in constant tiffs with Israel, has proven to be one of Assad's most crucial allies in the war against the Sunni Muslims.
In his epic (and very public) Facebook chronicles, Wino unloads a world of hate onto U.S. President Barack Obama for secretly supporting and sending arms to the "terotists" fighting Assad. He also adds a gripe or two about being deported from the U.S. five years ago and not getting to see his baby girl, as well as some death threats to anybody from Turkey or El Salvador.
Gang globalization at its weirdest! As if Syria needed another set of confusing allegiances to further murk the revolution.