Raed Fares has been among the most prominent activists in the Syrian opposition during the 42-month conflict. His efforts to publicize the nature of the fight against the Assad regime have been seen in the posters and videos of Kafranbel, the town in northwest Syria noted for its Friday protests.
On Wednesday, Fares reacted to the initial US-led airstrikes, purportedly against the Islamic State but also striking the insurgents of Jabhat al-Nusra — and leaving the Assad regime and its military alone. Four days later, events have done little to stem the force of his warning:
We have tried to no avail to awaken the world’s conscience in order that they may help us be rid of the head of all terrorism, criminality, murder and destruction: the Assad family and all its supporters, as well as terrorism cells they created and used against us, including Daesh (known also as the Islamic State) and Halish (known as Hezbollah, a Shia militia) and their offshoots. Since the beginning, all our efforts went towards this goal.
Now, they have created a coalition – they have unified, racing in a storm, as usual led by the United States, promising they will fight terrorism! In this context, we must remember the following points:
1. Bashar Assad is the head of all terrorism. He has killed more than half a million Syrians, displaced more than 10 million, detained more than 250,000, maimed more than half a million, and destroyed most of the country. He has used all types of weapons to do this, from knives all the way to chemical weapons. He has killed Syrians in ways that have not been seen by the world over the centuries.
2. Halish (the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah) is terrorism in all its forms, and it is comprised of foreign soldiers who have taken part in killing Syrians and perpetrating unthinkable atrocities against them. Moreover, Hezbollah is actually on America’s terrorism list!
3. Daesh (also known as the Islamic State) is a roving terrorist group, killing Syrians and displacing them. The group has killed the elderly, children and women and displaced thousands of Syrians.
4. There are Islamist groups in Syria who have fought the regime and did not approach the Syrian people with the intent to harm them; in fact, quite the opposite! They have dealt with Syrians in the capacity of brotherhood and respect. Those that may have committed excesses did not do so out of any ideological resolve.
5. We called on the Arabs and the Muslims at the start of the revolution, and they sent us individuals without weapons when what we needed most was political and military support of NATIONS in order to be victorious against Bashar Assad.
With all this being said, we are at a crossroads today. If the coalition will use selective logic and ignore all of those mentioned, choosing only to strike one group and the Islamists fighting the regime, leaving the very source of terrorism, then by God this is something that is neither logic nor wisdom can accept. It is something that will only increase our hate for the head of this coalition and all its allies, and it will solidify the image of America as the “Great Satan”.
Assad, Halish, and Daesh are the only ones who should be targeted, or else be certain of the terrorism you will reap with every new Syrian child born, and know that this will be a direct product of your handiwork.
Finally, we started this revolution knowing that we do not have the ability to face this regime’s army.
Despite this, we took this path and we will remain upon it.
The entrance of another military power does not worry us, because we knew since the beginning that we do not have the ability to face the sheer size of these forces, yet we began this revolution. Even if the whole world stands behind this oppressor, we chose this path March 2011 and we will not deviate from it. The only thing that will stop any of us is death.