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Syria at a crossroads

Before it was enacted once more under global pressure, the deal to evacuate Aleppo was suspended by Assad forces following the rejection of a last-minute condition which was conveyed to the opposition in its remaining pocket in East Aleppo. The condition, which was not mentioned at all during the talks that led to the deal was that Syrian forces should receive a list of the names of all those who will depart the city of opposition fighters.

Then, Iran added few more conditions. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) demanded the remains of Iranians killed in Aleppo be returned and that Iranian hostages held in rebel-controlled Idlib province be released. Assad seemed to welcome the additional complexities that threatened the Russian-Turkish deal. The Syrian President said in an interview that western countries pressured Russia for the cease-fire when rebels appeared to be on the verge of losing the territory they have held since 2012.

The regime justified the last-minute condition by saying that it wants to make sure that there are no prisoners forced to leave with the departing fighters. It is difficult to believe that a prisoner will not at least yell when he is being evacuated, between two lines of regime forces, to buses prepared by the regime, and under close monitoring by regime officers, to warn the Assad forces that he is moved to the buses by force. Furthermore, the IRGC’s demands were impossible to meet. But this was the idea: to demand things that are impossible to meet, then to go in to kill everyone.

Obviously, regime forces and their allies wanted to slaughter all inhabitants of east Aleppo. And they already started doing that just in earnest. They killed hundreds. Including women and children. No time was even given to opposition forces to consider the last-minute conditions or even to respond. The children killers did not want the opposition to respond. They were determined to kill all people in the pocket to teach others what could happen if they ever say no.

While the UN reported that 82 civilians were Killed by Assad forces and its Shia allies, of whom 11 were women and 13 children, at gun point in the first hours of Wednesday 14 December, one can imagine celebrations in Assad palace in Damascus and toasts in the Kremlin. Defenders of Assad will certainly say that the UN is a partner in the “regime change” global conspiracy and that children in Syria can also be terrorists. The world will continue its empty condemnation and loud noises.

The UN later said that what has been committed in east Aleppo is indeed a war crime. The US ambassador in the UN used strong words to condemn Russia and Syria. No one dared to ask the Ambassador what is the responsibility of the US in what has just happened in Aleppo. It was as if blaming the other absolves one of any responsibility.

This was not a war against terrorism. It was a war against the Syrian people who dared to say no to a tyrant. Islamists joined, terrorists tried to exploit the revolution as they always do, and the dictator called other dictators for help, while the “free world”, once more, stabbed the cause of freedom and its own moral preaches when it shamefully turned its face the other side. Fear won. Tyranny won. Congratulations everyone.

The Shia militias which attacked east Aleppo from south killed civilians with particular vengeance. They assumed, correctly, that they are all Sunnis, much as Assad and the Russians assumed that they are terrorists, all of them. Houses were entered and entire families sprayed with machine guns. In this war, thousands of civilians died cursing the rest of humanity for not moving to at least save their children.

Those who defend Assad (because he is fighting terrorism, they say), should ask themselves: Why did civilians have to die under barrel bombs and merciless indiscriminate bombardment? Do they have a shred of conscious when they defend killing ordinary people? Is not that what the terrorists do?

The page of Aleppo seems to have turned, and a new chapter in the story of Syria’s revolution is about to start. But how?

The radical Islamists, with their inter-fighting, strange pseudo-names, extremist teachings, violent methods and narrow mindedness should understand that Syria’s future should be defined by all Syrians: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Muslims, Christians, Druze, seculars, religious, men, women and all. No one should be excluded. They are all equal. It is the nation that gathers all and grants all freedom of belief, culture, religion, expression and participation in all aspects of life, including politics.

They have to understand that their attempt to mount the horse of the people’s revolution has broken its back. And they have to understand that fighting each other, under funny Fatwas, for who will be the Emir, and all the rest of their lexicon that is as alien to Syrians as it is stupid, ended with the worst nightmare that Syria has gone through.

The opposition should understand that following voices other than that of their own people and homeland, seeking benefits and fame on the bodies of dead Syrians, turning the revolution into a merchandise to be sold in neighboring capitals for personal benefits, making their areas business cows to be milked for their own profit, all this and more brought a quasi-defeat to the just cause of the Syrian people.

Assad should understand that he did not win. What would anyone win if he burned what he is trying to get? Does Assad really think that the Syrian people will forget or forgive? Could he remember the name of any dictator or mass killer who eventually did not parish in shame?

In his win, Assad lost. An entire generation of Syrians is destroyed. Half the country is ruined. He is hated by all decent human beings on this planet. And he will be remembered in history as what he truly is: a child killer, however he lies about terrorism and conspiracies.

For the civilized world, it is only few words: Shame on you all.

Now, it is up to the Syrian people to rebuild their own revolution on solely Syrian national bases. No fanatics. No crazies. No mercenaries. No foreigners. No terrorism. No extremism. Only freedom and dignity to all, all, regardless of religion, race, culture or beliefs.

It is up to Syria’s youth to build a Syrian, and only Syrian, revolution. For those who sacrificed their lives in the war against the tyrant, are calling upon all to take their country back, and take their future back. The banner is that of freedom and justice. All who committed crimes against Syria, starting with Assad and including some opposition groups, should be rejected and punished. Terrorists, fanatics and merchants of religions should take their inter-fighting somewhere else, and leave the Syrian people to settle their account with their blood-thirsty dictator.

There is no doubt in our minds that one day, not far, Syria will break free of its chains.

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