Here, a resident of Suwayda city who helps run the pro-regime “A-Suwayda” news page and requested anonymity talks to Osama Abu Zeid about the state of the province as the armed opposition approaches.
Q: How are the civilians of Suwayda reacting to the opposition’s approach?
“The city and province in general enjoy high morale in the face of terrorism, and have announced their readiness to fight next to the Syrian Arab Army to preserve the province’s security.”
Q: What about the talk about the formation of a fighting battalion made up of Suwayda residents to protect the city? Is this battalion loyal to the army or independent?
“There is no independent brigade. Young men who have refused to be recruited outside of the province volunteered for the National Defense Forces militias, the reserves for the army, in order to fight in the province and protect Suwayda. We do not attack others, and will not allow anyone to attack us. We will react disproportionately to anyone who tries to attack our pure land, and will not allow anyone to dishonor us.”
Q: Pictures have come out of Suwayda showing a group of residents stopping a convoy carrying missiles said to be headed out of Suwayda. What are your thoughts?
“The pictures are real, but the story did not occur like that. A misunderstanding occurred between some riled-up young men and Syrian army military commanders. The young men thought they wanted to remove the missiles from Suwayda, whereas the missiles were really just moving from one area to another inside Suwayda in order to better target terrorists.”
Q: There has been a lot of talk around the young men of Suwayda refusing to join the Syrian army.
“As far as those young men wanted for service, Suwayda is like all of the other provinces. There are young men who have refused to show up for service, and those who have fled. Fleeing from service is not because of an objection to state policies, but rather it’s connected with familial circumstances.”