Sarah asked a Syrian friend — currently based in the UK, where they have been granted asylum — to comment on Saturday’s military strike on sites near Damascus and Homs by the US, France and the UK. The strike took place in response to the Assad regime’s alleged chemical attack on Douma on April 7.
We wanted to know how the strike, and renewed media interest in the now seven-year conflict in Syria, made them feel. Optimistic, angry, worried, sad? Read their response.
No feeling… upset? Why would I be upset? The strikes had specific targets and didn’t kill any civilians. People who are upset about the idea of intervention should have been upset with the Russian intervention that has been killing us every day for the last few years.
I hate hypocrites who only speak up in such moments, but if it is Russia, Iran and Assad killing us and displacing half of the population, you don’t hear them complaining. So, if you hear a Syrian condemning the strike, who has been silent on the regime’s crimes for seven years, tune them out.
“If it is Russia, Iran and Assad killing us and displacing half of the population, you don’t hear them complaining.”
I don’t know if this strike weakened Assad’s military power (probably not) but it might make the position of Russia – and Assad with it – weaker on the negotiation table (it was a military strike but its aim is political).
Happy? I would’ve been if the strike targetted Assad’s own palace so that we get rid of him once and for all. I do want to see an end but I know that this wasn’t the motive behind the strike. When people warn it will be another Iraq, well, Assad and Russia already did that to Syria, and even worse. Why would a Western strike hurt me more than Assad’s daily bombs and chemicals? Because he is not an occupier?
He most certainly is. He is the first enemy of the Syrian people. If that is treason, then those who defend Russia are bigger traitors – and if an entire population are traitors, then the real traitor is the head of the regime.
“If an entire population are traitors, then the real traitor is the head of the regime.”
Anyway, I would never be happy to see any foreign military presence in my country – I already saw Russian soldiers in my street in 2013 in Damascus and it hurts – I just want Assad dead at any cost. But I live abroad and have no right to have an opinion anymore.
We all know it is not about Syria. We are tired of some stupid pro-Assad Syrians lecturing us and pretending to know it all. Obviously everyone knows that the US, UK, France each had a reason for the strike: Russia.
But Assad might (or might not) be just the collateral damage (collateral benefit to us). Politics is always about interests. I wished for a moment that Western interests would coincide with ours and take Assad down.
However, as one Arab philosopher said: “Dictators bring occupiers.”
For further perspectives on the current situation in Syria, follow the Syria Campaign.
Sarah Illingworth is Editor at Impolitikal, and a Communications Manager with the Open University’s Learning and Teaching Innovation portfolio. She has an MSc in Poverty and Development from the University of Manchester. Read more by Sarah.