Gaziantep, Turkey− Ahmad, 22, is a member of the Syria rebel group of Ahrar al-Sham which fights against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in the city of Aleppo. He came to the Turkish city of Gaziantep with two other rebels to transfer an injured fellow fighter to a Turkish hospital. In an exclusive interview with ARA News, Ahmad expressed his disappointment with the current situation of rebel fighters in the Syrian city of Aleppo, saying that their position is deteriorating amid the continuous conflict with the regime forces, “especially after the rifts that broke out between the different rebel battalions”.
“The residents of Aleppo are apparently angry with us as we couldn’t achieve a remarkable advancement in our fight against the regime, because the consequences of war are unbearable for the civilians,” he said. “We ourselves regret many practices of our fellow fighters. We are worried about the future of the revolution.”
He added that Aleppo’s residents are in need for food and basic supplies. “We are all tired of war. I even feel guilty for the misery of many Syrians due to the armed conflict in the country,” he told ARA News.
According to Ahmad, there is a detachment between civilians and the rebel forces. “Most of the civilians hold hostility towards armed groups. For them, the regime and rebels are alike,” he said.
“We decided to take up arms to overthrow the regime, but we have apparently overthrown humanity. We have contributed to the misery of our people, because after everything they suffered, the regime seems practically powerful. The increasing number of armed formations made rebels even weaker,” Ahmad argued.
Civilians avoid rebel fighters
According to Ahmad, he joined the ranks of Ahrar al-Sham −affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA)− to overthrow the regime in order to end decades of oppression against the Syrian people. However, the recent developments showed the difficulty rebels face to control and administer areas, which raised people’s concerns and worries.
“At the beginning of the revolution, people were rushing to talk to us and express their respect to our efforts to protect them, but now the situation is different as their suffering mounted due to the war. We have disappointed them, that’s why most of them are avoiding us by now,” Ahmad said. “Our city (Aleppo) is devastated, and we still claim capability to accomplish the people’s aspirations in freedom and democracy.”
Ahmad revealed that many residents of Aleppo have been humiliated by Islamist fighters “under the banner of the revolution”.
“They have the right to avoid us, because we couldn’t bear the responsibility of protecting them and achieving their demands after almost three years of conflict,” he said
Violations against Christian Minority
He revealed that private property of some Christian families in Aleppo has been damaged by Islamist fighters “who claim to be rebels”.
“The apparent violations to the rights of the Christian minority, who constitutes a basic component of our society, showed rebels’ inability to guarantee the Christian’s future if any change would take place,” Ahmad said. “We have condemned any assaults against the Christian minority, but we should have rather taken action against the Islamist fighters who carried out some suppressive and inhuman practices against them.”
Regarding the fact that he still fights in the ranks of the FSA despite his outrage and disappointment, Ahmad stated: “I’ve joined the rebels for a goal in which I believed, and I lost family members during the ongoing war, thus giving up would mean death to me.”
“Although I participated in the fighting for the sake of regaining dignity to our people and free the country from dictatorship, I can admit that we were unconsciously partners in destroying the country,” he concluded.
Reporting by: Ridwan Bizar. Contribution: Abdu Ilah Ibrahim
Source: ARA News
(Editing by: Adib Abdulmajid)
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