March 27, 2013

We at SAS News.net continue to hear reports from inside Syria about fears of the regime preparing the groundwork for a future Alawite enclave following the fall of the Assad regime. Whether true or not is not yet clear, but the fact that this belief is increasingly common, in our minds, makes it worth reporting. Reporter Nuha Shabaan spoke with Maher al-Hamawi, 31, formerly a soldier in Assad’s army who defected and is now the head of the LCC media office in Hama. Al-Hamawi is a proponent of a democratic state.

Q: What is the status in Hama today?

A: A lot of people have deserted their homes and are heading for mountains and caves due to the daily government bombardment. There is some humanitarian aid, but it’s not enough. The health conditions are bad because most hospitals in the rural areas have been bombed by the government and we have only a few field hospitals that don’t provide more than first aid. The siege on Hama has resulted in increasing prices and the lack of medicine. 

Q: Who controls Hama right now?

A: The regime controls the entire city of Hama but their forces are based in Tayyibat al Imam, Khan Shaykhun and As-Suqaylabiyah. They cannot move their armored vehicles and infantry because the FSA has the upper hand, but they are destroying rural areas by bombardment and airstrikes.

Q: How did the people in Hama react to yesterday’s summit?

A: The Syrian people were happy yesterday about the victory achieved at the summit. Mr. Moaz [al-Khatib] represented us and the revolutionary flag was raised. We welcome the stance the Arab states have taken, with reservations about the countries who sided with the butcher [Assad] such as Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon. We hope these decisions will encourage Western countries to side with the uprising.

Q: Why is Hama being targeted like this?

A: The regime has destroyed more than 80% of Homs and took complete control over it. Hama is essential for the regime to build the Alawite state, because Hama neighbors Alawite villages in the west.

Q: Do you think there’s a plan to divide Syria?

A: Yes, we’ve heard about a lot of secret negotiations behind the scenes to divide Syria. We will resist these plans, God willing. Syria will always be united and all its sects will live in peace and enjoy freedom on its land.

Q: What do you think about international efforts to assist Syria?

A: We’ve been hearing about these meetings to help Syria for two years, but we haven’t seen anything serious. We no longer count on any country. We only count on God.

Q: What about the medical conditions in Hama?

A: Field hospitals are being targeted and medics are being arrested as they perform surgery. Medicine prices have skyrocketed because the regime has shelled pharmaceutical factories. The regime is not allowing some commodities into the city, which is affecting children because we lack baby formula in the city.

Q: Are there any human rights organizations, for example the Red Cross or Red Crescent that are active inside Hama?

A: Only a few activists work in that field inside the city, but those are targeted by the regime once suspected.

In the northern rural side, we have some aid. Some groups do work, and we’re grateful for that, but their work doesn’t meet the needs.

Q: Do you think the regime has started to fall?

A: Their insane use of Scud missiles, which they didn’t even use against Israel, proves they’re losing control. Those who are interested in what’s happening in Syria should realize the regime has started to collapse and lose control over Syria.