Syrians are afraid of what will happen next. The choice they make now will determine where there country is headed. By Ayya Harraz.
The fact that the civil war, as we wearily may call it, has reached Damascus is a big move compared to the stalemate position the FSA has been held in for some time. However, this is not yet the end for Bashar. In fact, it is the start of a new chapter of the uprising.
After 16 months of the uprising, tanks have now entered Damascus. The Free Syrian Army have claimed success after the attack against leading regime figures on Wednesday. As rebels attempt to push further control over the capital, these all may be signs that the final stage of the uprising is well underway.
With a media frenzy focusing on Assad’s assets, Washington’s worry over chemical weapons, and the international community’s constant condemnation of the situation, we may have overlooked one important point.
The Syrian majority seem to agree on one thing: they do not fear the fall of the regime as much as they fear what may happen next. Sadly this question is quite lost on Syrians. Especially regarding the concern of rising sectarianism.
Both the rebels and Syrians do not have a direct leadership. Although, there is beauty in being led by the masses, rather than by one person, it comes with a painful price – the lack of a common and collected goal. With that I do not mean the ousting of the regime but what happens after.
With this in mind, will the Syrians give the FSA the final push they need to topple the Assad regime?
The FSA, now more than ever, need and rely on the support of defected soldiers and Syrians all over. The next few days (or even months) will test how much Syrians really love Bashar, or the fear both the government and state television worked so hard on to instil.
The less support the FSA receives from either the international community or Syrians may well see the prolonging of this civil war.
With the Syrian state television continually warning its citizens of ‘terrorists’ and armed men planning to attack people in the capital using military uniforms as disguises, it becomes difficult to distinguish between truth and lie in the safety of your home. This fear, for Syrians in Damascus, may rival any courage to stand against the regime if it places families in danger.
Now, as Assad’s regime warns people in the capital to evacuate in 48 hours, so they can fight off the ‘terrorists’, the support the FSA are hoping for from the Syrians may weaken. That is if they choose to flee.
The FSA might find it more difficult to rely on the international community. The latest developments prove Russia and China once again are not so willing to change their minds, as they vetoed a UN call for sanctions on Syria for a third time. The international community has only gone as far as condemning the civil war Syria has seen for the past 16 months. It makes one wonder why neighbouring Libya seems to have deserved more attention from the UN, EU and NATO.
Wednesday’s bomb blast by the FSA that shook the Assad regime to the core may see stronger retaliation. It is quite clear that any chances of negotiation between the rebels and the regime have vanished.
The people of Damascus will have to decide which future they would like to fight for and, more importantly, they must decide how.
One thing is for certain, anything could happen in Damascus. With restricted media access it is harder to give a clear picture of what is really going on.