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‘You’re either with the regime or against it’

June 21, 2013 Um Raghed, 29, is a citizen journalist […]

21 June 2013

June 21, 2013

Um Raghed, 29, is a citizen journalist who lives in Hama. She believes in a democractic state and supports the Free Syrian Army. She tells Nuha Shabaan why she believes some Sunni Syrians continue to back the Assad regime.

Q: It’s said that what’s helping the regime to stay in place is the support of Sunni traders who continue to back it.

A: I haven’t heard about certain people who do that, but you could say that the entire population is unconsciously supporting the regime by accepting their rules and laws, which is enabling the regime to dominate the people.

Q: What about the people who are funding the regime?

A: Of course, some people are funding it for the sake of protecting their interests. Some of them partner with the Assad family in restaurants and investments.

Q: Are these supporters still counting on al-Assad’s survival?

A: These people have narrow minds. They are taking advantage of the regime’s protection, so they continue to be loyal to the regime and are rewarded if it stays. If the regime falls, they think they’ll leave Syria. They don’t know that we will follow them wherever they go.

Q: Most of the wealthy, however, have smuggled their funds out of the country and started to invest in other countries. Do you think the fall if they stop supporting it?

A: This is true. Some of them have smuggled their funds but those are not the ones who mainly back the regime. They don’t even comprise 10 percent of the population.

The regime doesn’t actually have anything on the ground. Iran, Russia and Hezbollah control the country, and their support is moral rather than material. They help to influence domestic and international public opinion, [against the opposition].

Q: Did you try to lure them to side with the revolution?

A: Yes, in the beginning we tried a lot with all people. Now, there’s no room for half solutions; you’re either with the regime or against it.

Q: How has the revolution impacted businesses inside Syria?

A: Some factories in isolated areas continue to operate, and often provide foodstuffs. Generally, corporations have been negatively impacted, so we don’t have development projects, nor investment in infrastructure. At the same time, war will create an investment atmosphere after the revolution in Syria.

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