Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Syria: the tables are turning on the besieger | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Whilst Bashar al-Assad and his forces have continued to besiege Homs for fourteen days with an unrelenting iron fist, Damascus has in turn besieged al-Assad, and turned the tables upon him, prompting everyone to celebrate the city’s impending fall, as I said yesterday. Al-Assad himself has become cornered in his capital today, after he was the one who besieged the Syrians in their towns and villages!

When you see al-Assad’s look of bewilderment, his defenders talking less frequently about him in the media, and you see states, regionally and internationally, changing their stances, or hinting that they will do so, it means that it is al-Assad who is besieged today, not Homs, Hama, Daraa, Zabadani or Idlib. When you see the Syrian “flag of independence” raised in Damascus, this means that it is Bashar al-Assad who is surrounded, not the Syrian revolutionaries who surprised the world, but did not surprise those who know Syria, and the brutality of the al-Assad regime. When you hear the Secretary General of the Arab League – yes, the Secretary General – saying he has begun to sense a change in the Russian and Chinese positions, saying that the “Friends of the Syrian People” conference in Tunisia will be held to put more pressure on the al-Assad regime, this means that Bashar al-Assad and his regime are the ones who are under siege today, not the Syrians.

Of course, when you hear the Tunisian Foreign Minister back-tracking and saying that the Syrian opposition, and the Syrian National Council (SNC), will participate in the “Friends of the Syrian People” conference in Tunisia, then this further confirms that the al-Assad regime is the one under siege today, politically and economically. The manifestation of an overt challenge towards the regime in Damascus, and likewise in Aleppo, both mean that, without a doubt, the al-Assad regime has reached its most difficult stage so far, as the rope begins to tighten around its neck. The demonstrations taking place in Damascus show that what the Syrian revolutionaries are doing is organized and systematic, highly accurate and based on the element of surprise. It is not a random process, or merely a desire to enact revenge upon the al-Assad regime. It is clear that the purpose of the demonstrations in Damascus is to embarrass Bashar al-Assad and his regime, and also to divide his ranks, as well as the ranks of those who used to sit on the fence, both internationally and regionally, or those who stood by the regime with heart and soul, such as Russia and China.

The fact that the Damascenes are now besieging al-Assad not only refutes the argument of the regime itself, but also the argument of those claiming that there is a Gulf plan to overthrow al-Assad, which is a blatant case of fabrication. Here we see Egypt breaking its silence on the al-Assad regime, and likewise the Secretary General of the Arab League, and before them Damascus and Aleppo, so after all that, how can anyone say that it is the Gulf that wants to overthrow al-Assad? These people should be ashamed when they see al-Assad’s forces surrounding the Iranian Embassy in Damascus with intensive security reinforcements to protect it from the Syrians, while the residence of the Bahraini Consul is subjected to assault, as was the Qatari Embassy before that. Today it is also clear that Tehran’s embassy, which has sent two warships to Syria, is also under siege in Damascus like al-Assad, whom the Syrians – not the Gulf – have united to overthrow, and thus they have risen up in Damascus and Aleppo in support for Homs, Hama, Idlib, Zabadani and Daraa, as well as elsewhere, in order to topple Bashar al-Assad.

Therefore, all the facts on the ground, and especially what is happening in Damascus and Aleppo, tells us that today it is actually al-Assad who is surrounded, rather than Homs or other Syrian cities.