Earlier: As the Times' notes this sorta complicates U.S. claims and presents a "publicity" problem.
For Syrian rebels fighting in recent days around the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, any gains made in battle could be wiped out in the war of perceptions.
Their incursion into the town, led by extremist Islamists, reinforces the worst fears of Syrian Christians and could bolster President Bashar al-Assad’s claims that he is the Christians’ protector. It may also complicate President Obama’s task as he struggles to convince Americans that a military strike against Mr. Assad will not strengthen Islamic extremists....
Most of the town’s residents have fled, and Maaloula, one of the last places where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is still spoken by Christians and some Muslims, has become a one-word argument against Western support for the rebels — at the worst possible time for Mr. Obama and the opponents of Mr. Assad.