The voices of the Syrian soldiers under the rubble

Extremists are not fighting for the sake of the Syrian people’s freedom but for the sake of controlling them

Diana Moukalled

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Hadi, a Syrian young man who became a correspondent as result of the war, stood in front of the rubble of a building in Idlib - which Bashar al-Assad's government forces had just lost. He was wearing his body armor and holding his microphone as the camera showed us a shot of two dead Syrian regime soldiers.

The camera then shifted towards him and he said the building was being used by the regime’s soldiers to shell the city, adding that opposition armed forces succeeded at defeating them and killed them after they refused to surrender. He also said that there were soldiers stuck under the building where he stood before.

The four minutes of the video went on as such: interrogation of people under the rubble and as they appealed for help, the supposed Syrian journalist rebuked them, as a fighter accompanying him asked about them about the regime's actions.

“Why didn’t you turn yourselves in?” asked Hadi as the soldiers continued to appeal for help and demanded mercy. “We were afraid of handing ourselves over when the rebels asked us to. For God’s sake, [we are begging you for help]. The [regime] forced us to serve with it and we were afraid of handing ourselves to the rebels. Bashar did not benefit us in [any way],” they said.

However Hadi seemed very angry despite the soldiers’ begging. He, having himself survived the regime’s shelling several times, stood there and told those appealing for their lives to be saved: “Have a taste of your own medicine. God is now giving you a taste of your own medicine – the medicine which you gave us for four years. So, you know God now?”

The video ended with promises to get the soldiers from under the rubble. Of course we don’t know what happened next and whether the soldiers were rescued or left to suffer their imminent fate.

New governance

However we learnt about similar things after Idlib’s fall, the videos of destroying the statue of Ibrahim Hananu, a Syrian figure of Kurdish origins, and the fact that al-Nusra Front is a major component of the Islamist parties controlling Idlib.

Extremists are not fighting for the sake of the Syrian people’s freedom but for the sake of controlling them

Diana Moukalled

Their announcement of sharia as a basis for governance, in addition to many other facts, did not result in a worthy discussions among Syrian activists, intellectuals and journalists who oppose the regime - as on the contrary, there’s plenty of rhetoric justifying this approach.

What’s common these days is that when someone comments on Facebook criticizing the acts of parties affiliated with the Syrian opposition, some sarcastically reply saying: “You want us to bring you opposition from Sweden?” Or they’d say: “We call a spade a spade.” Such statements are thus made for the purpose of justifying the violations of some armed factions.

However, is neutrality an option between two extremes?

Extremists are not fighting for the sake of the Syrian people’s freedom but for the sake of controlling them. The Syrian regime’s brutality and relentless violence cannot be corrected without rejecting such the practices of such armed factions and without frankly and directly criticizing their methods. The responsibility of restoring Syria’s lost revolution lies in the moral essence of the revolution. The task of those biased to Syria and its revolution is to reject al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as enthusiastically as they reject the Syrian regime.

Result of reality

Yes, the armed factions in control of Idlib are not groups who arrived from Sweden. These groups are the result of a reality which major reason is the Syrian regime itself, and so are the soldiers who were stuck under the rubble of that building and who were shelling the opposition and the Syrian people. These soldiers did not fall off the sky and they neither arrived from Sweden as they are also the product of the very same regime.

The Syrian opposition figures who justify ill practices – like that of the Idlib rubble scene – or who, in the best cases, embellish them, and overlook them under the excuse that it’s all the regime’s fault and this is the product of what the regime committed, are in fact doing nothing other than justifying the options of death and available tyranny. They are therefore admitting that they too are the sons of this regime and that they do not seek to be different from it.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on April 6, 2015.

Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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