View From Syria: Soldiers React to Looming US Strike

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An image grab taken from a video shows an opposition fighter firing an rocket propelled grenade (RPG) on 26 August 2013 during clashes with Syrian army over the strategic area of Khanasser, situated on the only road linking Aleppo to central Syria. (Photo: AFP - Salah Al-Ashkar)

By: Ahmad Hassan

Published Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Damascus – In the past few days, the United States has stepped up its threats against Syria, using allegations of chemical weapons use as a readily available pretext to justify the escalation. Interestingly, the statements coming from the West on Syria have jumped to conclusions even before the UN inspectors in Damascus have finished investigating the alleged chemical attack in Ghouta, with several Western officials threatening action against Syria before any evidence has emerged.

Today, in light of the Western threats to the Syrian people, the “combatants” on the ground have different attitudes on the matter.

Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Mohammad al-Shibli, 26, a Syrian army soldier, said, “Why wait until the results come out? Thinking that the Americans need proof before invading a country is naïve. America does what its interests require, and if it sees that its interests would not be harmed by attacking Syria, it will attack without needing any justification. The Turks invaded, and we resisted, and so did the French. Why not have the honor of fighting the leaders of strife?”

Amjad O., another Syrian army soldier, had this to say: “If America fulfills its threats then we will have no choice but to respond directly.” When told that it is near impossible to respond because the United States will not carry out a ground invasion in Syria, and would only strike targets remotely, he said, “What about the Zionist entity? We all know that a blow to the Zionists hurts the Americans just as much.”

Meanwhile, many Syrians believe it unlikely that such a strike would take place, arguing that this may drag the Americans into a new quagmire, and that the current international order would force Washington to fight a full blown regional war that it cannot afford.

Al-Akhbar spoke to Malath Abu Baker, a political analyst, about the backdrop of this escalation. Abu Baker purported that the United States was not likely to repeat in Syria the same mistake it had committed in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, saying that he believes the United States is playing in “overtime.”

Abu Baker added, “The United States is governed by the international balance of power, which forestalls opening any new fronts. I reckon that it is looking to acquire new bargaining chips for negotiations in Geneva II, which will be held inevitably.”

On the armed opposition’s side, attitudes are divergent. While some are cheering and pinning hopes on recent American stances, other Syrian opposition militants are wary of what the United States is planning for Syria. A fighter for the Damascus Martyrs Brigade, who goes by the name of Abu Alaa al-Harastani, proclaimed, “Fighting against the regime does not mean in any way that we accept US intervention in our country. We are not fighting the regime only to accept bigger injustice.”

Harastani spoke to Al-Akhbar about the disputes among Syrian militants over this issue, and said, “There are hundreds of brigades in Syria, each with its own attitudes and visions. Yet I have almost lost my mind because of the indifference many brigades have shown over US intervention in Syria. Some have welcomed it, while others have kept mum. Our voice is stifled and our capabilities are weak. They have broken our backs, and gave funding and support to the takfiri factions.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Looking onto the incidents that are taking place in Syria, i am losing hope on humanity day by day. How many innocent people are being killed in the streets and that includes children, sadly. So are going to take responsibility for all these? And what actually is America doing on this foreign land, when a great example for their intervention is still there as in the form of Iran. Sad and pathetic.

For the record I'm a white christian Australian. I stopped believing what are media and news papers say about the middle east a long long time ago. Actually I pretty much don't believe anything the main stream zionsit controlled media says any more. 9/11 really woke me up. How people can believe that was a terrorist attack is incomprehensible. This article is spot on. US "peacekeeping" missions are about one thing and one thing only. Oil and Gas. So called Iraqi secterian violence is CIA funded pot stirring. The US has no interest in and peace and stability. Instability means they control the resources. I have come to realise that the real enemy in the world is Zionist (not Jew) controlled USA. The biggest terrorist organisation in the world. I hope Russia and China make a stand this time. Anyway the point is we are not all idiots out there lapping up this US propaganda. Quite a few of us (being westerners) understand what is going on.

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