July 23, 2013
As citizens in Damascus go about their daily lives, their neighbors just a few kilometers away in East al-Ghouta are “paying the price,” says Anas al-Wazeir, spokesman for the Duma Local Coordinating Committee in Outer Damascus. In an interview with Adulrahman al-Masri, al-Wazeir, a moderate Islamist who was a university student when the revolution broke out, says that the humanitarian situation just minutes outside the capital city is worsening by the day as the regime’s blockade enters its tenth month. Al-Wazeir praises the rebels’ efforts, but says they are handicapped by their diminishing weapons supplies and an influx of foreign fighters from Iraq and Lebanon.
Q: What is the latest news from Damascus and its suburbs?
A: Today is just another day for the Damascus suburbs; towns and villages of East al-Ghouta are waking up to the sounds of artillery, mortars, and missile launchers, which are wreaking havoc on more than 15 tows outside of Damascus. The main targets are Duma, Masraba, Harasta, Kufr Batna, and Hamouriyeh.
Q: Has there been any noteworthy progress for the FSA in Damascus and its suburbs?
A: There has been no noteworthy progress due to the acute shortage of ammunition and effective weaponry, but the fighters and the rebels are doing a great job of defending against the regime forces.
The best evidence for that is the liberation of most of towns in al-Ghouta and the resistance against Assad’s forces in al-Qabon. Assad’s forces haven’t been able to storm al-Qabon, which is considered a part of Damascus proper.
Q: Is there any Hezbollah or Iraqi presence as of late?
A: Their presence is no secret, especially after the public confession from Shia militias over its Facebook pages. We hear their voices on our radios, speaking in Iraqi, Lebanese and Persian dialect. They are fighting all over Syria.
Q: Is there any indication that the FSA has received new weapons that enable it to confront the regime?
A: Sadly, European countries like France and Germany have made promises, but they have neglected to support the FSA with the effective weaponry it needs to face and overthrow the regime due to the presence of extremist groups in Syria.
Q: What are the conditions for citizens in the capital today? What are they expecting over these last two weeks of Ramadan?
A: Citizens in Damascus are living a very stable life. But the civilians in East al-Ghouta, just 10 kilometers away, are paying the price. They are living a tragedy, in every sense of the word. A blockade has been imposed for ten months now, depriving East al-Ghouta of electricity, water, medicine, flour, gas, and basic survival needs, not to mention the continuous daily shelling. Their only hope is for the day to end without having gone hungry or losing a loved one.