by Alan Philps
I am from Deraa, but when the demonstrations began in
A year ago, everyone was saying, 'President Assad will be gone in three months'. What happened?
It was the same inside
What happened to the doctors?
They are afraid to work with the rebels since the government arrested and tortured a lot of doctors. They left to go to
What state is the army in?
I was with the Free Syrian Army when five soldiers defected from the government side. This is what the officers tell the soldiers: 'Every day we are gaining more territory and killing a lot of terrorists. If you stay with us, you will get a government job. Just stick with us.' The soldiers are told that all the fighters are terrorists from outside
So the Syrian army is still capable of fighting?
Right now, they still have that capability. Around Aleppo a lot of military bases are surrounded by the FSA. But the army is fighting back. It's important to remember that most of the north of
There is a lot of concern about the Al-Qaeda-aligned rebels, the al-
They are not so many in number, but they plan very well. They know how to launch a successful attack. This is the main difference between them and the Free Syrian Army.
The FSA are just normal Syrians. And there is another difference. If some guys from a village capture a military base, they take everything they can lay their hands on. But the al-Nusra people are honest.
Why do people join them?
If there is no help coming from outside, you will see guys joining the Islamist rebels. They are not all radicals by conviction. I met a male nurse in the hospital in Aleppo. He told us, 'I used to be a barman. But so long as Bashar uses scud missiles and MiGs and helicopters against us, we have to be like this.'
Is it too late for a political solution?
No. The Americans have to put pressure on
Can Syrians to live together after two years of fighting and 70,000 dead?
Maybe there will be revenge in a couple of villages. But it's not the culture of people to do that. Even today, after all that has happened, the people know that the government will have to include Sunnis and Alawites and Christians. There are a lot of good examples. For example, the bishops and the clerics in Hama mediated between the Sunnis and Alawites, to let the high school students take their exams. If we follow these examples, the country will be OK. The question is, how much longer will this go on? If this keeps on like this, I think the culture of revenge may start. They have to hurry.
Look at the lessons of