Monday, 30 November 2015
What do Syrians themselves want?
Mark Mardell: "Muzna Al-Naib is an activist with Syria Solidarity UK. She says President Assad needs to be defeated before Islamic State can be tackled."
Muzna Al-Naib: "I think Mr. Cameron should start talking about the real problem in Syria, which is Assad. He needs to talk about it more effectively, and make the protection of civilians from Assad the priority, in order to defeat ISIS, and protect civilians here in the UK."
Mark Mardell: "But you're not against military action. You didn't join Stop the War at the weekend."
Muzna Al-Naib: "We didn't join Stop the War at the weekend, because we refused to participate in a narrative that didn't have the input of Syrians. Stop the War Coalition is not listening to Syrians. They need to start listening to Syrians, when we say the protection of civilians needs to be a priority."
Mark Mardell: "You're saying that President Assad is more of a problem than IS, Islamic State?"
Muzna Al-Naib: "Of course! Assad killed far more civilians than ISIS ever did. ISIS wouldn't be here if Assad wasn't in power. Assad killed so many civilians, that the Syrian people now doesn't have the power to fight back against ISIS or anyone else. People there are just surviving. ISIS came to the country, from outside the country, and took ground there, because people didn't have the power to fight back; because they are being bombed every single day by Assad, the youth of the country are being jailed in detention centres and tortured to death, and the whole country is fleeing. There are areas where they cannot flee, because they are under bombardment every single day.
Mark Mardell: "So if it does come to a vote in the House of Commons, how would you like MPs to vote?"
Muzna Al-Naib: "My concern is only for the Syrian people, and what I want MPs to do is start talking, and discussing, the protection of civilians, rather than sending more bombs to Syria. We don't need more bombs in Syria. We are not asking for an intervention, we are not asking for imperial powers to come and occupy our country, we're just asking for the Syrian people to be given a chance to fight their fight. We're not asking you to do our fight for us."
Mark Mardell: "How strong are the forces against President Assad. I mean, David Cameron has suggested there are 70,000 troops of the Free Syrian Army. Do you think that's correct?"
Muzna Al-Naib: "I think that's correct, but I also invite you, not just to look at the Free Syrian Army, I also invite you to see other elements of the picture. For example, civil society institutions, grassroots and aid organisations. They are a great example of how Syrians can be organised, how they can fight their own fight, how they are able to pursue their dreams of freedom, and for freedom create a Syria that has a place for all."