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‘Syrians fight because they have become free,’ opposition writer Kilo tells Al Arabiya

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Syria had to choose between either Arab or international options and it chose the Arab one, Syrian opposition writer Michel Kilo told Al Arabiya on Thursday.

“The crisis in Syria will continue for some time because protesters cannot oust the regime and the latter cannot prevent the people from taking to the streets,” he said.

Kilo’s comments came during Al Arabiya’s weekly program Studio Beirut, presented by Gizel Khuri.

“Syrian protesters do not fight for freedom, they fight because they have become free. The Syrians will never return to conditions prior to March 17,” said Kilo.

The prominent writer told Al Arabiya that the Syrian regime will not withdraw its troops from the streets. “What we have seen in the past couple of months is a decrease in the role played by the army and an increase in the role played by security forces and shabbiha (thugs). In doing so, the Syrian regime is trying to show the world that it is responding to international demands.”

Kilo said that it is unlikely that the Syrian regime would agree to meet with the opposition groups in Cairo, as this would be a kind of “acknowledgment to the presence of two powers in the country.”

He said that the Syrian regime has lost numerous international allies, the most important of which is Iran. “The Iranians are very smart and they do not want strong ties with transitional regimes. Accordingly, Damascus will never be able to regain its relations with Tehran like they were before the March 17 uprising.

“World powers do not want a quick resolution to the Syrian crisis. The Americans are concerned with two things: Who will be the substitute? And who will maintain stability with Israel? They have not shown their final stand yet.

“As for the Arabs, they might be afraid of imposing a democracy in Syria because such a change will shake the entire Arab world. This is a tough and complicated issue.”

Kilo said that he had no fear for Syrian Christians should the regime fall, “unless they commit grave foolish acts.”

(This article was translated from Arabic by Abeer Tayel.)