Key players of the Syrian Revolution held a discussion on the tenth anniversary of the Syrian revolution, about whether there is hope for peace in the war-torn country. The conversation quickly turned into a measured debate about foreign involvements… with the American panelists calling for more, and the Syrian panelists calling for an end to foreign intervention.
Labib al-Nahhas is a displaced Syrian national and founder of the Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity, a social movement that advocates for a safe and dignified return of Syrian refugees so that they may peacefully participate in the political future of their country.
Rafif Jouejati is an American NGO activist who admits in this video that she was a lead organizer of the Syrian Arab Spring protests. She now serves as a spokesperson for the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (aka, the Syrian National Coalition), an organization based in Turkey that claims to be the interim government of Syria, and which serves as the governing body of the Syrian National Army.
Zahir Sahlou is an American physician and member of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), an NGO that has provided for the Syrian White Helmets since 2011. Dr Sahlou is currently lobbying congress to support Syrian “opposition” fighters.
Sinam Mohamad (@sinam56) is a Kurdish Syrian national and spokesperson the Syrian Democratic Council (the political arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces).
Paraphrased summary of the conversation.
Labib al-Nahhas (SYR): The Syrian Revolution was inspired by Arab Spring.
Rafif Jouejati (US): The revolution was triggered by Assad’s heavy handed treatment of protesters during Syria’s Arab Spring protests.
Labib al-Nahhas (SYR): The protests turned into an armed rebellion due to a sincere need for activists to defend themselves, but it wasn’t until Iran, ISIS, and other foreign fighters entered the fight that things took an ugly turn and became about Jihad.
Dr Zahir Sahlou (US): The idea that the Syrian Civil War is a fight between two evils that America should stay out of is Russian propaganda. America must be involved, and they must not choose the side (Assad’s) that is killing innocent children in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, funding and international support for the “opposition” has significantly been reduced… because, Tulsi Gabbard has convinced everyone that the opposition are terrorists.
Note from Naomi: Tulsi Gabbard managed to log-roll an amendment into the 2020 NDAA that now forbids US funding of terrorist organizations in Syria.
Rafif Jouejati (US): They Syrian National Army fights against a brutal regime. They fight for democracy, against authoritarianism and dictatorship.
Labib al-Nahhas (SYR): The problem with Assad’s regime is not about authoritarianism or dictatorship. It’s about sectarianism, and the humiliations that come with it.
Sinam Mohamad (SYR): Human rights violations happen on all sides, but what’s happening in Syria is no longer a civil war. It is now a foreign occupation. Turkey’s flag flies everywhere in what other countries believe to be rebel strongholds, and the Syrian people who fight under that flag — the Syrian National Army — they are killing and raping other Syrians. They no longer fight for the Syrian people. They fight for Turkey.
Labib al-Nahhas (SYR): Political change is the only peaceful solution, and only the Syrian people can make that happen.
Sinam Mohamad (SYR): The Syrian Democratic Committee is willing and able to help effect political change. The Syrian people, alone, must be who forges the path forward, and that effort must include the Syrian Democratic Committee. They are the only group who is organized and fighting to secure democracy for the Syrian people, yet they have been excluded from all negotiations for peace and a new constitution.