Witnesses to atrocities in Adra, Syria. Various militia groups were involved, including ‘moderate opposition’ – the FSA.
For more information, go to https://australiansforreconciliationinsyria.org/mother-agnes-mariam-22-february-2014-update-on-crisis-in-syria/
MEDIA RELEASE – 11th September 2014
“Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria” deplores the decision by U.S. President Obama to take military action against ISIL in Syria without the consent of the Syrian Government. Such military action will be illegal.
Furthermore, AMRIS condemns U.S. military support to what President Obama terms the ‘Syrian opposition’. The vast majority of Syrian people do not support any militarized opposition groups, but rather support the institutions of the state. (NB: There is an internal opposition – parties and groups which eschew violence.)
The Syrian regular army has lost tens of thousands of soldiers in its battle against militias, including ISIL. With very little support from the local population, these sectarian militias depend on foreign fighters who include Sunni Muslims misled by a myth, namely that a minority Shi’a sect is oppressing the Sunni majority in Syria.
Syria is a secular society and its government and army reflect the diverse mix of ethnic groups and faiths in Syria. The ministries are dominated by Sunni politicians and the conscript army is predominantly a Sunni army. The Defence Minister is Sunni. The president’s wife is Sunni. Members of the business elite are mostly Sunni Muslims.
There must be recognition of
- the inclusive Sunni Islam practised in Syria, which is rooted in Sufi Islam not Wahhabism, the school of Islam aligned with the Saudi royal family
- the right and responsibility of Syrian people to defend themselves and their country against militias funded by both foreign governments and individuals who condone the killing of civilians who support the secular Syrian state
- the wide-ranging rights and freedoms that women have in Syria
- the rights and freedoms people of different faiths have in Syria to practice their religion (Christmas and Easter are public holidays in Syria, just as Muslim holy days are.)
- the fact that more than 73% of Syrians eligible to vote participated in the June 2014 presidential election
- the fact that investigative journalists, members of the U.S. intelligence community, and M.I.T. academics maintain rebels were most likely responsible for the chemical attack in Damascus in August 2013.
Syria could be America’s key ally against ISIL and other terror groups. Instead, the U.S. has chosen to align with Saudi Arabia, a country where churches are banned and women are not permitted to drive, and a country that has funded and directed much of the insurgency, both ‘moderate’ and extreme, in Syria.
By supporting militia groups which are labelled ‘moderate’ but which target soldiers, public servants and secular Syrians just as ISIL does, the U.S. and its allies will entrench the chaos, destruction and death in Syria and the region. The pretext for U.S. military action in Syria is the beheading of two American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley. However, in articles published before they were abducted, Sotloff and Foley exposed the brutality of the so-called moderate rebels. The truths they revealed and their courage in exposing them do not demand an alliance with ‘moderate’ rebels complicit in their killings; they demand support for peace and reconciliation in Syria.
The hatred being incited between Muslims to promote geopolitical wars in the Middle East will impact on communities across the globe. People everywhere risk losing their moral compass and compromising basic human values and belief systems which are needed to unite us and ensure peace and security for us all.
AMRIS calls for rigorous research of events in Syria in order to challenge partisan narratives.
AMRIS calls on the government to heed the wishes of the people of Syria; to support their army’s fight against terror groups; and to respect their right to work for peaceful political changes without foreign interference. We can honour our own freedoms, equalities and responsibilities in Australia by respecting those of Syrians.
Slide show: Syrian people. Some images taken before the crisis, others taken from Syrian TV; others are screen captures from internet; others taken of children in a refugee camp. (S.D)
Ms Susan Dirgham, National Coordinator of “Australians for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria”