Conflict & Justice

Here's what Syrians have to say about intervention


A father and son return home with vegetables, as smoke from a pro-government forces artillery strike ascends in the background, in the al-Amaria neighborhood in the city of Aleppo, on Jan. 6, 2013.


Zac Baillie

Editor's note: Reporting by Stephen Starr, Tracey Shelton and Josh Wood.

As Obama tries to rally support for an airstrike on Syria, he is asking everyone what they think. France is on his side, but Germany and the UK are against him. 

But what about the Syrians themselves? What do they have to say?

“Syrians have spoken a lot, but no one listens,” a Damascene woman, who works in the art scene, told GlobalPost this week. “Syrians feel that everyone benefits from their pain.”

(Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

GlobalPost talked to Syrians about the potential US airstrike. This is what they said:

Abdul Aziz, a banker, said everyone he knows in Damascus is divided over the prospect of a US-led campaign against their leader.

“Of course I don’t support [military intervention],” he said, adding that pro-interventionists do not discuss their positions publicly in the city. “Because I consider the American administration my nation’s enemy.”

Rama Tarabishi, an executive at an industrial company just outside Damascus, said at first she didn’t believe Western countries were really planning to strike. 

“Clearly things are deteriorating dramatically now,” she said. “I don't know how to put my feelings into words, but all I can say is that I am worried and frustrated. It seems to me that the Iraq scenario is repeating itself.”

Sari Akminas, a journalist, said he will not flee if there are strikes.

“The mood in Damascus is strong,” he said. “If you love your country, stay and participate in rebuilding it.”

(Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images)

Talal Atrache is from the southern province of Suweida.

“Any strike against the army will strengthen the jihadists,” he said. “I believe we are witnessing the destruction of a country and a society ... for contradicting political, strategic and economic interests."

Abdullah Omar, a Syrian who lives in the rebel-held town of Atmeh, near Turkey, said the majority of people where he lives support US airstrikes. 

“They think it will give the rebels an advantage over the regime,” he said. "But in my opinion, it won’t. The Syrian people will keep suffering either from the regime or the extremists.”

“The world’s reaction has come too late,” Omar said. “Even now some are trying to delay the strikes. It’s like sending a message to Bashar that he still has four days to do what he wants."

Muhamad Raslan, a Free Syrian Army fighter, said US missile strikes may be too little and almost too late, but he and his fellow fighters still welcome them.

“Although it is so late for the USA to intervene, it may help us a lot,” Raslan said from the province of Idlib. “But frankly in Syria we do not need anyone to fight for us. We need weapons and ammunition only.”

(Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

Basel Almasri, who once stood staunchly on the side of the revolution, said the lines are now blurred.

“This is now a war between the extremists and a dictatorship,” he said. Reluctantly, Almasri said international intervention has now become the “only solution.”

Captain Fadi, an FSA officer with the Jabhat al-Umma al-Islamiya Brigade, an Islamist rebel unit operating in and around Aleppo, said he's of two minds.

“It’s good and not good," he said, "because the strike would not be lethal to the Syrian regime."

Omar al-Homsi, an FSA fighter involved in special operations, is based in Yabroud, a town near the Lebanese border.

“I don’t have a lot of hope about this strike,” he said. “It will not do anything — nothing will change.”

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