As a Syrian, I know there's only one way to defeat Isis

The Syrian people have been ignored in the last six months by the international community, especially during the recent “peace talks” in Vienna which included no Syrian representative. Meanwhile, left-wing UK pundits scared about an Iraq War repeat ignored our revolution

Ahmad Alhineidi
Monday 07 December 2015 18:10 GMT
A Free Syrian Army fighter throwing an improvised bomb
A Free Syrian Army fighter throwing an improvised bomb (Reuters)

I am Syrian, and Syria is my country. I was born in Deir Ezzor. I was in Damascus during and after that attack in the neighboring suburb of Daria. But my parents live and may die in Turkey now, away from the home they worked for 50 years to build – and my children will not go to Damascus University like I did if this war does not end.

It is only the Syrian people who can decide our country’s future, with or without the financial and political support of other Muslims. But the Syrian people have been ignored in the last six months by the international community, especially during the recent “peace talks” in Vienna which included the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran - but no Syrian representative.

The international community is trying to force us to make an impossible choice between the brutal dictator Bashar Al-Assad and the horrifying terrorist organisation of Isis. Little attention is being paid to the voice of the Syrian people – the Free Syrian Army - who stand for what the Syrian revolution started for. Lest we forget, the Syrian people wanted to build a democratic country ruled by the law, where human rights are respected.

The Free Syrian Army was formed on July 29, 2011, in response to the Syrian Regime’s violent response to peaceful protests in Damascus, Homs, Deir Ezzor and Aleppo. The first leader of the Free Syrian Army was Riad al Asaad, a defector from the Syrian Arab Army, where he was a colonel. He, together with other defectors, realised that change could not happen when peaceful protests were violently repressed – and said that he could not bring himself to fire on peaceful protesters under the orders of Assad any longer.

There are currently about 15 active divisions in the Free Syrian Army, being led by former Syrian Arab Army officers, and operating mainly in Aleppo, Damascus suburbs, in Daraa, and in Hama.

The most effective thing that the UK and the rest of the international community can do for peace in Syria is to back this army and support us in fighting against Assad. If we conquer Assad’s forces, we will then be able to rid Syria of Isis ourselves. History teaches us that this is possible: in the past, the FSA were able to fight terrorists and remove Isis from Aleppo and Damascus with almost no outside support.

The United States and Europe had an opportunity to support the Syrian revolution, but left-wing pundits concerned with the aftermath of the Iraq War undermined that opportunity. The lack of due diligence by these people, so apparently concerned with Syrian lives, was shocking. In Syria, we saw it as nothing short of a betrayal.

Isis is an extremist terrorist organisation operating supposedly with Islamic values at its heart. No one knows better than Syrians that Isis are not following the real principles of Islam – and no one abhors them more for it. The murder of Syrian Muslims daily in the name of a false Islam is something that infuriates us more than it could any westerner.

If the UK wants to see an end to Isis’ reign in Raqqa and beyond, it must face the truth about Assad. Isis simply took the opportunity of the ongoing war in Syria to inflict terror on both Syria and the rest of the world. End the Syrian revolution with success and Isis will fall quickly, with the help of a democratically established government in Damascus. Turn a blind eye to our old dictator, and stability can never return to the region – something Isis will thank you for profusely.

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