“They have treated Syria like a zoo and the citizens like animals.” The language barrier frequently limits the conversation with the Syrian refugees that I have met. Also, many who I meet have been out of Syria for several years or even since the beginning of the war, so it is rare to get an insider perspective from someone on the ground. Therefore, I was very excited to meet a man yesterday who not only still lives in Syria, but is from Aleppo and his whole family is still there. And he is well educated and speaks English! I wanted his perspective on everything going on.
His quote above was referring to the International community and their involvement with the conflict and how we aided and allowed this to happen. As a matter of fact, last week the young men who had been working in Iraq told me how the Peshmerga forces showed them the area that ISIS crossed into Iraq and how the USA allowed them to cross and had the Peshmerga troops stand down to give them free access into Syria.
Make no mistake about it, our position (USA) was that we wanted Assad and his regime deposed and we thought that aiding opposition forces would help this happen and bring about democracy. Boy how wrong this was. Opposition forces rapidly evolved into ISIS. And USA, among others, allowed all these terrorists into their country. This Syrian man I spoke with yesterday was a Christian. (Statistically the treatment of Christians under Assad was some of the best in the Middle East.) They were left alone and allowed to worship freely, provided they didn’t try to proselytize Muslims. The treatment of Christians under the opposition forces has been deplorable. In fact, the Christians in Aleppo were unable to come out of hiding and celebrate Christmas for the 5 years that they were under opposition forces. This past Christmas was the first time in 5 years that they could safely practice their faith.
While our news would tell you that it is Assad’s forces and the Russians that were bombing the civilians, that is not the story from those on the ground living through the war. “After all that we have been through, Assad looks like the best leader ever.” The man said yesterday. “We love him more and are grateful for him more than we have ever been before.”
He had a lot of other strong opinions and points that he made with regards to how the Syria conflict rapidly unraveled into the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII. I know that there may be differing opinions and there are no doubt many facts to consider above and beyond his perspective (the Assad regime is certainly not innocent by any stretch of the imagination). However, in a world where we may only hear one side of the matter, I am glad to hear the voice of someone who has personally lived through the hell and has his own opinions.