Thursday, 13 November 2014
SYRIA REBELS' ALIASES GROW
INTO NEW PERSONALITIES
' "Qusai was born from a tragedy and deprivation, from a revolution, from death, from chemical weapons and siege," said Qusai Zakarya, an activist from the town of Muadhamiya, on the outskirts of Damascus. "So he has a strong presence inside me. It's not just a nickname."
Zakarya, 28, whose real name is Kassem Eid, created his alias in 2011 by combining the names of a beloved uncle and an actor who starred in a Syrian soap opera considered groundbreaking in its portrayal of Syrian corruption.
But it wasn't until the summer of 2013, after a chemical weapons attack on Muadhamiya and other Damascus suburbs, that the nom de guerre took over his identity. One of the few residents fluent in English, he accompanied a United Nations team investigating the Muadhamiya attack. Soon he became the voice of the town, especially as a government-imposed siege began to claim the lives of residents.
America's U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, used his testimony under the name Qusai Zakarya to explain her vote in the Security Council to refer the Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court. Under that name, he has also appeared as part of a U.N. panel about life under siege and has met with diplomats from the United States, France, Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.'