'Gay Girl in Damascus' blog was really a man in Istanbul

A blog purportedly written by a Syrian-American woman living in Damascus has been confirmed as a hoax.

Writing under the name of Amina Arraf, the blog entitled "A Gay Girl in Damascus" documented events during the Syrian uprising.

It hit the headlines worldwide last week when a post signed by a cousin of Amina appeared on the site saying she had been abducted by security forces.

But an admission was posted on the site last night by the blog's real author, a man named Tom MacMaster who claimed to be living in Istanbul, in which he admits fictionalising the entire story.

In the post, Mr MacMaster apologised to readers, but insisted he had harmed no one. "While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading as to the situation on the ground. I do not believe I have harmed anyone – I feel I've created an important voice for issues I feel strongly about," he wrote. Speculation over the author's identity has been rife since a reporter from The Washington Post noticed the blog had an Edinburgh IP address. Suspicions were raised futher when a London woman named Jelena Lecic claimed she was the person in the photo which the blog claimed was Amina.

Mr MacMaster identified himself as "the sole author of all posts on this blog", adding: "I have been deeply touched by the reactions of readers."

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