Israel’s attack on Assad’s military bases on Mount Qassioun above Damascus have provoked mixed feelings amongst Syrians. On the one hand, Syrians have been well aware for over two years that Assad’s army is designed not to confront Zionism but to slaughter the Syrian people. For a year and a half Mount Qassioun has been the launching pad for for artillery and missile attacks on civilian areas of Damascus and its suburbs. On the other hand, hatred and mistrust of Israel rightly runs very deep indeed among the people, far deeper than among the regime which, despite all its rhetoric, has not once (since 1973) responded to Israeli violations of Syrian sovereignty. Syrians know that Israel’s attack is an attempt to exploit the revolutionary situation for Israel’s own ends, that it is part of Israel’s confrontation with Iran – something Syrians want no part of, however much they may hate Iran’s criminal support of the genocidal Assad regime – and that it offers grist to Assad’s propaganda mill.
Here are some immediate responses to Israel’s attack. The Syrian National Coalition released this statement, including this line: “The Coalition holds the Assad regime fully responsible for weakening the Syrian Army by exhausting its forces in a losing battle against the Syrian people.” Many Arabic language Youtube videos show various Free Army and Salafist militias condemning both Israel and Assad’s regime.
I wrote this on Facebook:
Assad responds to the Israeli attack by escalating his sectarian massacres on the coast and his bombardment of Syrian cities, including the Palestinian refugee camp at Yarmouk. Infantile so-called ‘anti-imperialists’ everywhere cheer on Assad’s ‘heroic resistance’.
By ‘sectarian massacres on the coast’ I was referring specifically to the ongoing slaughter of Sunnis in al-Bayda and other areas of Banyas, causing thousands to flee the area.
My next comment was this:
Isn’t it possible to absolutely oppose Israel and its self-interested interference and at the same time to absolutely oppose the fascist Assad regime and its deliberate sparking of regional sectarian war, its endless massacres, its destruction of Syria’s heritage and infrastructure? Isn’t it possible to support the Syrian resistance, despite the presence of Salafist extremists and plain traumatised people who do unwise things? So many so-called anti-imperialists are unable to do these things at the same time. Why? The minority regime in Syria is, like Israel, one result of the Sykes-Picot carve up and divide and rule machinations of 1916 to 1948.
Rime Allaf asked a very good question:
Where was all this “activist” attention to Syria and all the loyalists’ concern after the Assad regime knived children to death in Banyas?
She went on to write:
Many of us have openly opposed the criminal Israeli regime and the criminal Syrian regime simultaneously, for years. Try it, it’s easy.
Rasha Othman wrote:
FYI: Syrians are not stupid. They know Israel didn’t bomb the living daylights out of Assad because they truly care about the Syrian people or the Syrian revolution. Their interest lies in deterring Hezbollah. Any idiot can see that. Period. Unlike Obama, when Israel sets a redline, they follow through. Its SAD that it had to go down like this. However, pointing fingers and berating Syrians (especially from the comfort of your home and your laptop!) who feel a sense of happiness, however awkward, when Assad soldiers and weapons caches are destroyed, need to check themselves. The mother whose children were slaughtered with machetes in Banyas is not crying over what happened in Qasioun yesterday evening. And it is possible that you can support neither Assad, or Israel. Really, it is. Think about it.