Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Thousands of Syrians took to the streets yesterday to call for the international community to impose a no-fly zone above the country to protect the Syrian rebel army and unarmed Syrian civilians from being targeted by the aerial weaponry of the al-Assad regime. This call for the imposition of a no-fly zone is being read in some circles as a first step towards the Syrian revolutionaries explicitly calling for foreign military intervention to put an end to the Syrian crisis which began almost 7 months ago. This is a scenario that was not explicitly denied by members of the Syrian National Council [SNC], who stressed that the SNC is seeking to adhere to the demands made by the Syrian activists on the ground, and did not rule out resorting to the military option to confront the al-Assad regime, whether this is with regards to calling for foreign military intervention or taking up arms themselves.
In this regard, Samir Nashar, a senior member of the SNC, stressed that “the options of military intervention or civil war are both extremely bad options and something that most Syrians reject, however the worst option would see Bashar al-Assad remaining in power.” He added that “the first two options have a time frame, whilst the last option does not, especially as Bashar al-Assad inherited power from his father, and will bequeath power to his son if he remains.”
As for the unpopularity of foreign military intervene, Nashar stressed that “we are not living in the age of colonialism, and the Libyan example remains a milestone in front of us, for without military intervention there Gaddafi would have exterminated the people of Benghazi.”
Following yesterday’s protests in which Syrian activists and demonstrators called for the international community to impose a no-fly zone above Syria, Nashar said that “the Syrian people have made their choice, and they want protection from the United Nations [UN] and the Arab States from the systematic killings being carried out by the al-Assad regime.”
Samir Nashar, who is also a member and spokesman for the Damascus Declaration, said “the [Syrian] people are calling for any UN mechanism to stop the killings after a 7 month absence of any deterrence to limit the scale of the massacres [being carried out by the al-Assad regime].” He stressed that “if the international community and the Arab world fail to meet these demands and protect civilians, then the Syrian people will have no choice but to take up arms to protect themselves” adding “this is something that is already happening in many areas [in Syria].”
Nashar also that the SNC “in the end, must adhere to the choice of the Syrian people, and this is currently what is taking place” adding that the SNC “will identify what steps must be taken in light of the facts and developments on the ground.” The SNC activist also said that he expected things to get even worse, unless al-Assad resigns or there is a military coup against him.
For his part, another SNC member, Moti al-Batin told Asharq Al-Awsat that “all options are available to oust the [al-Assad] regime” stressing that “the [Syrian] revolutionaries are the ones who will determine the direction in which things will develop during the coming days.”
Al-Batin also told Asharq Al-Awsat that the SNC is working “to adhere, as much as possible, to the demands of the Syrian revolutionaries [on the ground]” and that it is working “to win foreign recognition of the SNC as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”
Al-Batin said that “the Syrian regime alone will solely be responsible for the consequences of the demands for [the imposition of] a no-fly zone or anything else, as it is responsible for the massacring of the Syrian people.”
As for the campaign of civil disobedience that has been taking place to confront the systematic violence and suppression being carried out by the al-Assad regime against the people of Syria, Moti al-Batin stressed that “what is required are quick positions, for slow-paced measures will not work against a tyrant who is worse than Gaddafi…we do not want to see the Libyan scenario being played out in Syria, but we are aware that al-Assad will not step down until after the Syrian people have paid a high price in blood.”