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Syria: Freedom is imminent | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Any one that observes and contemplates the eroding and disfigured Syrian regime has no option but to compare it to an old man breathing his last breath, whilst his family gather round and speak of him. This is the case with the Syrian regime that has seen the free and united world distance itself and reject it, in protest against its bloody nature, its crimes, and the despotism it has practiced against its own people. The Syrian regime can now see the world opening its doors for the honourable opposition that will soon rise to power after the demise of the al-Assad government. The Syrian National Council has announced itself as a political entity, and declared Burhan Galion as its president. This is a measure which the US, Britain and France have welcomed, and Turkey and Qatar have also displayed similar reactions. Key elements of the Syrian opposition have been welcomed in Canada, the Arab League, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Russia and elsewhere. This is all happening whilst the situation on the ground in Syria continues to aggravate, as the free rebels are determined and have said extremely clearly that they will continue until the regime is overthrown. The number of defections from the Syrian army today has now reached the tens of thousands, which is undeniable, contrary to what Syrian regime’s miserable and pathetic media machine attempts to portray.

Nevertheless, the Syrian regime continues to “treat” the situation with a bizarre “patchwork” remedy. The regime is circumventing the economic sanctions imposed on it by the international community by printing banknotes locally, and it has already printed special 1000 and 500 pound notes. The regime is also buying and selling gold with the aim of making some gains. This also applies to the US dollar exchange rate, where banks are buying dollars but refusing to sell them on, except when dealing with the ruling regime’s closest associates as happened recently when a prominent businessman reportedly withdrew a “huge sum of money” in US dollars from Bank Audi in Syria. There are also much talk about the regime “disposing” of some of the gold reserves in the Syrian Central Bank, with the purpose of generating the funds required to pay for the suppressive military machine, the Shabiha, and security elements. This is after payments were reported to be late and supplies were reported to be lacking, besides the fact that the military machine is now exhausted because it operates day and night on a daily basis, whereas in the past it came into force only after the Friday prayers. There are also defections within the army among the higher ranks; including the navy and the air force. Furthermore, an officer from the Republican Guard is said to have fled the country, and his name will be announced next week.

The regime has also tried to “exploit” the miserable statement issued by the patriarch of the Maronite church in Lebanon, in which he said that the “al-Assad regime is a prop supporting the minorities and it alone can prevent the hardliner Sunnis from rising to power.” No sooner had this statement been issued than the regime received a hard slap on the face when senior sheikhs of the Alawi sect declared defection from the regime and disavowed its actions. What Bechara Boutros al-Rahi failed to mention in his statement is that the Christian community throughout the reigns of al-Assad Sr. and Jr. has shrunk in number to less than one million. Many of them were forced to emigrate due to harsh security conditions and economic hardships as a result of the regime’s practices, which caused them to resettle in different counties around the globe. This prompted some honourable Syrian Christians to issue a strongly-worded statement in which they rejected the patriarch’s comments, declaring their firm stance supporting the Syrian revolution.

Since the first day of the Syrian revolution, the regime repeatedly stated to the world that it would “guarantee” and end to the security disorder, it would “guarantee” reforms, it would “guarantee” revealing the truth, and it would “guarantee” quelling the Salafis, the armed militia, the infiltrating elements, mercenaries and traitors. It also declared that it would “guarantee” holding a dialogue, “guaranteeing” that the opposition would be present as an alternative. It also “guaranteed” to undertake the protection of civil liberties and punish whoever had committed violations of such freedoms. Now seven months have elapsed since the revolution broke out, and the regime is proving to the world that its “guarantees” are meaningless and lacking in credibility. The promises which it long promoted are invalid and unreliable.

The Syrian people are demanding a change of regime, the overthrow of the President, and a total renunciation of such a system of rule. Now freedom is imminent.