Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Less than one month after stepping down as head of the Syrian National Council [SNC], Burhan Ghalyun, chairman of the SNC’s Political Bureau, left his international and diplomatic efforts to travel to Syria – for a few hours – in an attempt, as he stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat, to “embrace the revolution”.
Ghalyun left Turkey to travel to the Idlib Province a vast area of which is under the control of the Free Syrian Army [FSA]. There, he moved in total freedom, meeting with the revolutionaries and listening to their demands and future steps. He also visited the wounded in hospitals as he travelled in vehicles marked “The Free Syrian Army”.
“The stories that we hear outside are different from what we heard from the heroes on the land of the revolution”, Ghalyun told Asharq Al-Awsat. He talked about his amazement and admiration of the civilized climate that prevails in these areas and their inhabitants, rebutting the threats of the regime that chaos will follow if it collapses. Ghalyun added that, “In all the towns that I visited, there was absolutely no doubt that the regime was absent on the political, moral, and physical levels. There were no government representatives but officials appointed by the FSA and local committees running the affairs of state and of the citizens”.
According to the former SNC Chairman, “The Syrian society is progressing and advancing without the presence of the government of the illegitimate regime in an atmosphere of total solidarity between the members of the FSA and the Syrian people”.
Ghalyun said that his visit to Syria is a demonstration of his “moral support for the revolutionaries and to console our people who suffered killings, massacres, and slaughter”. However, Ghalyun’s enthusiasm abates when he starts talking about the conditions under which the FSA is operating. Ghalyun sadly states that “the external assistance reaching the FSA is very low while its needs are huge”. He goes on to say, “The people funded their revolution by themselves; the revolutionaries are in need of everything. Despite some of the aid that reaches the FSA from the SNC and some organizations, it is still operating under a big deficit in light of the absence of resources such as arms and communication equipment”.
Ghalyun promised to exert all efforts to supply the FSA with anti-aircraft weapons because “such weapons would break the ability of the regime to attack and reverses the balance of forces. The regime is over. The residents of Idlib do not feel its presence except through its nightly shelling”.
Shortly after Ghalyun left Syria on, social media pages were flooded with his pictures inside Syria in an effort to defy the regime and its supporters, and to say that the Syrian opposition can now move freely in the areas under the control of the FSA. One video clip showed Ghalyun sitting on the ground with a number of revolutionaries wearing a loose garment and a head cover. As he prepared to leave, one of the men standing and carrying his gun approached him and said, “Doctor, we are a trust in your hands”. After he boarded a black car marked “The Free Army” and carrying the flag of Syrian independence, the man sitting in the passenger seat next to him put out his head out of the window and said, “For God’s sake, young men, do not post any video clips until after we cross the border”. It is worth noting that a large number of SNC members have entered Syria recently specifically to the areas under the control of the FSA. The most recent visit was made by Muhammad Sarmini who told Asharq Al-Awsat that he moved around in Hamah within sight of the elements of the regular army, and so did Umar Idilbi who was injured during his visit to Homs.