|Souad Nawfal with placard|
It all started because Souad Nawfal wanted to wear pants. Every day, the 40-year-old schoolteacher turned anti-regime activist, would go stand in front of headquarters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in the rebel-controlled city of Raqqa to protest the al-Qaeda affiliates' harsh tactics in her hometown. She hoisted placards calling for an end to injustice, for an end to oppression. First they ignored her. Then they told everyone else to ignore her, and then they tried to beat her. Still she persevered. ''A woman all by herself facing the Islamic State,'' she sniffs in a recent video posted on Vimeo. ''Talk about a State! It's more like a small gang that takes advantage of people's fear.'' But that small gang was powerful, and when ISIS started threatening her life, Nawfal finally had to flee for Turkey to a safe house, wondering what has happened to Syria's revolution. Others have taken up her courageous actions to tell the Daesh (Syrian for ISIS) to get out of Syria.
She is not alone. Hundreds of activists have watched in desperation as the revolution they launched to overthrow the repressive regime of President Bashar Assad threatens to deliver their country into the hands of equally oppressive Islamist radical filth determined to turn Syria into n Islamic caliphate. ''A lot of former activists are now saying to me, 'When the choice is between ISIS and Assad, I am going for Assad,'' says Randa Slim, a Syria expert at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. To be sure, not all the rebel groups share the same ideology, but the most effective fighting groups, with their ranks filled by foreign jihadists, funded by private donors in the Gulf and backed by al-Qaeda, are gaining ground. As they grow they are squeezing out the activists that dreamed of a Syria founded on democratic representation, freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
Reports of Christian villages and enclaves taking the major brunt of Islamist atrocities are many. The fighters (haters is more fitting) come into these settlements like that cold-blooded Mohammad did in 700s (AD) giving the lovers of Jesus the options of converting to Islam, keeping their faith and pay a high tax or be killed. The killing of these innocent people continued in Syria as entire families were murdered. The atrocities happened about 12 miles northwest of Damascus and were committed by Jabhat al-Nusra and Liwa Al-Islam fighters. The rebels just lined people up and shot them in the head for refusing to convert.
Military sources within the Syrian military said, ''armed groups have performed execution of civilians that has been verified that over 80 people were killed in areas now taken over by our army. Often whole families were put to death.'' Some families were kidnapped in order to be used as human shields in areas where the Syrian army is now trying to free civilians. According to the report, artillery isn't being used against the cowardly jihadists to prevent further civilian casualties. The report went on stating that ''the military is in the process of clearing out the town by searching every house. Assad's forces are said to have freed dozens of Alawite, Druze and Christian families from the rebels.''
The number of people murdered in the town of Adra is expected to rise as government forces ''recover the town.'' The stories of the atrocities committed by al-Nusra and Liwa Al-Islam are as violent and merciless as ever. One local resident Muhammad Al-Said reported; ''The situation was terrible...unidentified armed men came into town, but it was obvious that they were Jabhat al-Nusra militants.'' Al-Said then added an almost unbelievable statement; ''the worst crime they committed was that they roasted people in ovens used to bake bread when those people came in to buy it.!'' He added, ''the rebels committed the atrocities so they could place blame on government forces, thankfully many fled to Damascus while the elderly, mothers with infants, and the sick hid in their basements waiting for Syrian troops to save us from these vermin from other countries.''
The Way I See It.....arming the rebels was akin to arming the next generation of sectarian dictators. In the early days many Syrians derided the peaceful opposition groups as cowards for their attempt to effect change through dialogue and protest alone. But as they say ''you can't unscramble eggs'' so probably the best solution in the end may have to be compromise, even though the head leader of al-Nusra, ( left ) Abu Mohammed al-Jouani said in an interview with Al Jazeera yesterday that he ruled out peace talks with President Assad.
The upcoming peace talks in Geneva, slated for January 22nd, give Syrians hope. Nawfal says Assad is a criminal that must eventually leave power. Nonetheless, she says,''Syrians in the opposition and the Free Army (one of the early groups made up largely of defected government soldiers) should negotiate with the regime and accept a solution that leads to a coalition of sorts. It's not a popular conviction, but it is most practical to allow both to join in defeating the al-Qaeda scum. Without that, the whole country will be destroyed. Two and a half years of fighting is enough!''