Monday, 11 November 2013
Battle for strategic Syrian town shows
why war has displaced millions" “What happened in Ariha is a small version of what is happening everywhere in Syria,” said Abu Ahmed, a 46-year-old former Ariha government official who’d fled to Reyhanli, Turkey, on the border with Syria, and who asked to be identified by an Arabic nickname that means “Ahmed’s father.” “The army goes in, attacks the people, kills the people who stay behind, then fires on the people who are fleeing. Then it takes control of everything in the area. It destroys everything.”
Rebel participants in the battle in Ariha say it was fought not by the foreign extremists who increasingly dominate the anti-Assad movement, but by residents who were prepared to die to defend their families and bring down the Assad government. It came against a backdrop of more than a year of rebel harassment of Syrian military convoys on the highway and deadly attacks on government checkpoints that had begun to take shape as early as the middle of 2011."
Again, the jihadis may dominate the news coverage (and be increasing in significance), but that doesn't mean it isn't this less reported structure of a revolutionary people's war that is what the conflict in Syria is actually still mostly about. An al-Jazeera correspondent, a couple of days ago, talking about the relationship between the FSA and the Syrian National Coalition, said, "It's the fighters who are creating the revolutionary reality on the ground."