Growing sentiment in Syria for all-out armed revolt

Hope for Arab League or UN intervention fades

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Posted on: 
19 Jan 2012
Growing sentiment in Syria for all-out armed revolt

Activists in Syria are warning that time is running out for either the Arab League or the UN to contain the ongoing violence there, even as voice continue to call for armed intervention by NATO or possibly a coalition of Arab countries led by Qatar. Calls are also increasing inside Syria to abandon all pretense of a peaceful revolution and wage an all out armed revolt against the regime of president Bashar Assad. “If we were given a protective area or a no-fly zone, the regime wouldn’t last longer than 48 hours,” said Amad, a Homs resident and former military conscript who fled to Jordan last week. “How come the international community came to the Libyan people’s rescue but continues to let Syrians die by the dozens?” “The Arab League protocol, the monitoring team, all they have done is support the regime’s attempts to delay real intervention as it continues to kill,” agreed Abu Ahmed, a Homs resident who lost two brothers in the violence. “If this massacre continues through the spring, Homs will be bled dry.”

The comments reflected a widespread sentiment among Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, who have largely given up hope of being saved by any outside force and resigned themselves to the fact that if they ever want to go home they must do the work of removing Assad themselves. Still, there are voices in the opposition warning that talk of a civil war plays into Assad’s hands, and will only lead to the wholesale destruction of Syria, since the regime retains the backing of Iran, as well as regional terrorist groups.

“The use of force will not only lead to internal violence, but will tear Syria apart piece by piece,” warned Haytham Manaa, human rights activists and president of the Coordination Committee for Democratic Change. “People must realize that the greatest threat that faces the popular revolution comes from within.”

Despite such warnings, largely from individuals and groups who have spent much of the last decades in exile and are thus easily dismissed by young Syrians, support is growing for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a growing band of army deserters and others based in southern Turkey who have earned a reputation among displaced Syrians as “guardians of the revolution.”

“We want to maintain the revolution as a peaceful revolution,” FSA leader Col. Riyadh Al Asaad told The Jordan Times in a phone interview from Turkey. “But when the only language the regime understands is force, sometimes you must use force to ensure protection.”

“We support the Free Syrian Army’s role in protecting civilians, rather than using force against the regime, and we believe they will fulfill their role,” said Radwan Ziadeh, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council’s executive office.

“We do not want anarchy. We want an organized, disciplined army supported by international forces on the ground, protecting the Syrian people,” another opposition leader said.

But despite what anyone wants, Syria appears to be slipping out of control.

“People are tired of living in fear. If you want to go out to buy bread in Homs you need to bring a gun for protection,” said Salem Homsi, a 20-year-old university student. “After months of going hungry, people are deciding to reach for a gun. If the international community will not help free the Syrian people, the Syrian people are prepared to free themselves.”


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