News / Middle East

Syrians Wary, Resigned Over Possible US Strike

Residents watch as a convoy of U.N. vehicles carrying a team of United Nations chemical weapons experts drive past near one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Zamalka, a suburb of Damascus on August 28, 2013.
Residents watch as a convoy of U.N. vehicles carrying a team of United Nations chemical weapons experts drive past near one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Zamalka, a suburb of Damascus on August 28, 2013.
Elizabeth Arrott
As U.S. lawmakers consider whether to use military force against Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons, some in Damascus are banding together for any eventuality. 

The delay on a U.S. decision has provided some in Damascus with a sense of relief, either giving hope Washington will back down on its threat of a strike or giving time to better prepare for one.

Secretary General Sana Naser, of the New Syria Party, a government-approved opposition group, says U.S. President Barack Obama “shirked” his responsibility by handing the decision to Congress.  

Not that it matters, she added, as she believes lawmakers will approve military action, especially now that the United States has put so many resources into position.  Tuesday's joint U.S.-Israeli missile test over the Mediterranean is only likely to strengthen such opinions. But Naser refuses to call possible U.S. action against Syria a “strike.”

Speaking by phone from Damascus, she described it as an aggression against a sovereign state, by one U.N. member against another.  And as such, she said, it would be a violation of international law.

Anas Aljazayri, a member of the Syrian Observatory for the Victims of Violence and Terrorism, which largely reflects government positions, disagrees.  He thinks Obama realizes war with Syria “is not a picnic.”

"We are not afraid and we are not worried and we are too confident there is no hit on Syria," Aljazayri said.

But if it does happen, he argues the Syrian government and military are ready.  He pointed out they have been preparing not just during the past two and half years of internal conflict, when the United States and other Western leaders called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.  Aljazayri said there have been 30 years of expectation, beginning with tensions between the West and Mr. Assad's father, the late President Hafez al-Assad.

AlJazayri is also dismissive of the Arab League and its decision this week to support U.N. action against Syria. He said the League has never stood by the the side of Arab interests, and has been “conspiring” against Syria since the beginning of the uprising against  Assad.  The League suspended Damascus in 2011.

Anti-American, pro-government views are not hard to find in Damascus.  Decades of censorship has led to a general conformity of publicly-expressed opinion.

Some in the rebel camp hope the current delay on any strike will give them more time to convince silent opponents of Assad to come to their side.

The New Syria Party's Sana Naser does speak out against the government in cases of corruption or abuse, and unwarranted arrests of citizens, in particular during the threat of conflict. But she said this does not mean she and others will stand by idly if the country is subjected to an external attack.  

Naser said a new national defense group to protect against an attack has been formed, and adds she was one of the first women to volunteer.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mrs. Burpgoat from: UK
September 03, 2013 9:27 PM
VOA, you are PROPAGANDA MOUTHPIECES for the New World Order. HEGEMONY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by: Father John McDonald from: Detroit
September 03, 2013 8:24 PM
9 reasons why our Fascist Government wants to go to war:

In no particular order:

One: Give the appearance of unifying the country behind the President, who “did his job the right way,” by going to Congress for approval. This elevates Obama’s ratings and, by inference, suggests that his other programs should be accorded more merit. A wartime president always gains more support.

Two: Give the people an adrenaline rush. The effect should never be underestimated. Cleanses the pores, cleans the slate, and relieves frustration by proxy, temporarily…if you have very little access to your cerebral functions.

Three: In this case, winning Congressional approval reinstates the illusion, for a few moments, that we are a Constitutional Republic, with a government dedicated to justice.

Four: Help fulfill the long-planned US-Israeli agenda of destabilizing Syria and causing it to partition into warring and chaotic ethnic factions.

Five: Stop the construction of a natural gas pipeline across Syria, which would boost Iran’s economy by sending Iranian gas to Europe. Iran’s economy must be torpedoed.

Six: Send a message throughout the Middle East that the US is all-powerful and the dollar must remain the reserve currency in all oil transactions.

Seven: Feed the US military-industrial complex, which demands wars.

Eight: Aid the long-term goal of Globalism/Free Trade, which involves putting the entire Middle East into unresolvable debt and suffering…and then coming in with outside elite bankster financing, to rebuild the entire region and own it, lock, stock, and barrel.

Nine: Distract Americans from a number of scandals, including: Benghazi, Fast&Furious, IRS non-profit division crimes, NSA spying, the continuing failed war in Afghanistan, and a tanking domestic economy with more and more people living below the poverty line.

None of these reasons has anything to do with “punishing Assad for using chemical weapons.” In any case, that whole scenario has been thrown into extreme doubt.

Your government at work.

by: Monsignor Woofellwitz from: Frankfurt
September 03, 2013 8:20 PM
The New York Times reports that a 50 man cell of “rebels” trained and armed by the CIA and US special forces is to sneak over the border from Jordan into Syria this week to begin fighting government forces there, a move that should prompt concern given that moderate rebel forces are now fully infiltrated by extremist al Qaeda linked terrorists.

The details were revealed in a report detailing a meeting between the president and Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, during which Obama assured them that covert action would be stepped up in an attempt to do more damage to the Syrian army.

Obama told the two that in addition to a limited strike, “we have a broader strategy that will allow us to upgrade the capabilities of the opposition.”

The Times reports that “the C.I.A.’s program to arm the rebels would be deliberately limited at first to allow a trial run for American officials to monitor it before ramping up to a larger, more aggressive campaign.”

“There seems to be emerging from this administration a pretty solid plan to upgrade the opposition,” Graham said after the meeting.

Both Graham and McCain now say they are willing to vote to authorize military action by the US on Syria. During a press conference (full video here) McCain stated that a congressional vote against the administration’s request “would be catastrophic in its consequences” for US credibility internationally.

“It is all in the details, but I left the meeting feeling better than I felt before about what happens the day after and that the purpose of the attack is going to be a little more robust than I thought,” Graham said.

McCain has been pushing to arm Syrian rebels for some time, saying this week that it is “shameful” that the US had three months ago promised arms for the opposition, and failed to do so.

The Arizona Senator said in an interview that he had strongly urged the president on Monday to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems to the opposition and to attack the Syrian Air Force.

Graham added that he hoped the opposition would be given “a chance to speak directly to the American people” to allay fears that rebel forces are dominated by al Qaeda linked extremists.

“They’re not trying to replace one dictator, Assad, who has been brutal… to only have al-Qaeda run Syria,” Graham said.

However, as we have repeatedly pointed out, this is the exact scenario that is unfolding in Syria, according to intelligence sources and military experts.

Elements of the Free Syrian Army have merged with jihadist groups that have direct ties to al Qaeda groups. For months, video footage of brutal attacks led by such extremists have been surfacing online.

Scores of different Syrian rebel groups are pledging allegiance to the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate group responsible for killing American troops in Iraq.

The New York Times has reported that “Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups.”

Military experts and former intelligence officials are on record as stating that the Syrian fighters who defected from the Assad military in order to protect civilians and innocent protesters have been almost completely sidelined, with all of the US support and logistics going to the Muslim Brotherhood/Salafist-led Syrian Military Council backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

These Syrian rebels have been responsible for a plethora of atrocities, from terrorist attacks and massacres, to forcing people to become suicide bombers, to attacks on Christian churches and making children carry out grisly beheadings of unarmed prisoners.

The bottom line is that the CIA, with the blessing of the Obama administration, is once again training and arming extremists that have pledged to kill Americans.

by: Moniqa Beal from: UK
September 03, 2013 5:52 PM
hey "jale" you speak like a true Turk...

by: jale from: türkiye
September 03, 2013 2:29 PM
why usa take or destroy all gune which Esed and opponent have thus people do not die and democracy may came more easly if the purpose is democracy
In Response

by: Kitty Kat from: Wharf City, UK
September 03, 2013 8:26 PM
But the CIA runs, funds, and trains Al Qaeda...............ALL ON RECORD!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs