May 29, 2013

Samir Ibrahim is the secretary general of the Syrian Free Religious Scholars Association based in Idlib province. While the scholars are not part of the Free Syrian Army, they counsel brigades operating on the ground about adhering to the tenets of Islam. He spoke to Ahmed Kwider about the cross-border sectarian fighting that he says threatens to engulf the entire region.

Q: Is there danger of the Syrian war transforming into a large-scale, regional Sunni-Shiite war?

A: There is a big fear regarding this if a big sectarian war starts, all the region will be under genocide war for all and no one will be safe from it.

Until this moment the war does not start yet, but there are indicators such as the involvement of Hezbollah, Iranian and Iraqi militias and other countries. We found an obituary for a Saudi Shiite who died in Syria.

Q: Do the Syrian rebel groups believe that the United States and Europe have abandoned their role of tamping down a possible regional war?

A: The United States and all Western countries are merely watching. The priority for America is to weaken Syria in the region. The evidence for this is their position right now of watching what is happening here.

When it comes to Syria, they just stop to watch. America and Israel consider Iran their enemy, but America still keeps silent regarding the Iranian support of men and weapons to the regime. This ensures that American hands are involved in Syrian blood. If they do not stop the fighting in this region, the whole region will burn.

We are waiting for the results in Geneva. If a sectarian war starts, America cannot stop it. It is going to lose its credibility in the region. Also I think if that happened, the war will reach Saudi Arabia and Qatar it will end up like Judgment Day.

Q: We are trying to do a story on the possibility that the Syrian war will soon spin out of control and thrust the whole region into the multi-nation sectarian war some have been warning about for years. Can you comment on that?

A: The talk we heard from the sheikhs of Saudi Arabia is worthless and has nothing to do with reality. Turkey will not allow heavy weapons to inter Syria. It just allowed some sniper machines, shells, and ammunition. The other weapons were smuggled illegally into the Syrian lands through Turkey. The talks about rearming FSA it is just talking to scare Hezbollah. The intelligence of Hezbollah is stronger than CIA. The unstudied moves of Bashar Assad and Hezbollah gives only to options; one they are agents for America, second they underestimating America and the world.

We do not have al-Qaeda, only some young Arab jihadists. I met them in Turkey before they entered Syria and they have no relation with al-Qaeda. They were heading to fight with Jabhat a-Nusra. I advised them not to go for Nusra and to join the FSA. I see Jabht al-Nusra as great people in fighting against Bashar Assad. But their ideas do not fit the Syrian people’s ideas. They say that “after bringing down the regime, we will go back to where we came from.” I am not sure, given their famous slogan: "After liberating Damascus, to Jerusalem."