2 min read  | Interviews, Politics

Ahrar a-Sham: Russia wants to protect its ‘hand’ in the region


June 19, 2013

June 19, 2013

Do not confuse support for the Assad regime as a sign of any bond or attachment to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, says Abu Nidal, 27, an Ahrar a-Sham spokesman. He explains to Ahmed Kwider why he believes Russian assistance to the regime is entirely about its own interests and position in the region. The spokesman, originally from the town of Arbeen in East Ghouta, is currently based there with Ahrar a-Sham.

Q: What do you think about Russian intransigence and its continuing to arm the Syrian regime?

A: With regards to Russian arming of the regime, it will continue until the scales tip in favor of the revolutionaries; until such a time when it controls major parts of the capital. So Russia will arm the regime not to regain control of the liberated territories but so that it will survive and be able to use pressure. Russia recognizes that Assad’s political regime is over, so it hopes for political changes with the survival of some regime elements retaining control of the security and military institutions.

Russia wants to protect its “hand” in the region, Syria, but not necessarily Assad.

America wants a regime that supports the capitalist economic system, of which America is the leader.

The military aid will continue until Russia gains concessions from America and the West, protecting the balance in the region, and maintaining for Russia its place in the region…or until Russia sees that the regime is finished.

Q: In your opinion what is the likelihood of the Geneva II conference occurring, to solve the Syrian crisis?

A: The likelihood of Geneva II happening is very high, but it happening is not what matters. What matters is its effectiveness on the ground, for Geneva I and many other conferences have happened and then gone down the drain. It does not differ much from Geneva I. Like someone dying of cancer being prescribed Panadol, which was seen to be ineffective, so Panadol Extra was prescribed. This is the difference between Geneva I and II.

The conferences [themselves] are not what matter, what is important is the intention to solve the crisis. It is possible that this conference will [merely] fill a political vacuum, as its predecessor did.

Q: In your opinion, will the opposition participate in this conference?

A: Unfortunately, I do not believe that the decision is in the hands of the traditional opposition, that which is outside Syria, for if the decision was in their hands the issue would have been solved a long way back. As for the opposition participating in the conference, as usual whoever’s personal interests are served by the conference will participate and others will abstain at all costs.

The traditional opposition does not have the ability to apply pressure nor does it have any role to play in the Syrian issue other than in name only.


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