Why The Free Syrian Army is Not Listening to The Appeals of Civilians

Translated by; Aishah Barazi

There is no tangible progress when it comes to the ethics of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) members in any place or area. On the contrary, all of our appeals are gone with the winds. Anger, complaints and hesitance are increasing among residents as well as activists to the extent that they went out in demonstrations in many areas calling out for reforms in the lines of FSA concerning ethics and behavior with local residents in the first place and also among FSA members and battalions.

In fact, it does not really worth it to say that a particular battalion or group is exploiting the revolution and arrogating FSA name to commit violations and abuses. These actions have become common among the well-known brigades and battalion in addition to the ones that were said to be intruders on FSA. It is no longer comprehensible why FSA commandment allow them to practice all these thuggish operations, humiliating the residents and the taking critical military decisions in the areas which are under FSA control.

The Military Councils in any liberated area have almost no authorities over FSA’s brigades and their commanders. In fact, the commanders themselves have no power over their brigade’s members. Also, the military reinforcements that arrived late are chaotic, unadvised and randomly distributed where favoritism and backing up subsidiaries play key roles.

Many of FSA “virtuous” battalions -in the sense of their ethics, actions and intentions- have been left without support. Although they have the real desire to change, they are left defenseless against the negativities of the other unfavorable battalions.

The volunteering battalions are being reinforced instead of supporting the dissented recruits. The mutated brigades are being favored over the ones that have proven to be loyal to nothing else but Syria.

This chaos warns with a great deal of evil whether we want to admit or decide to bury our heads in sand. Furthermore, the systematic policy adopted by the Syrian regime of indiscriminate destruction to civilians’ homes and properties, burning and looting markets besides horrific torture of residents which are all combined pressuring the people to ask armed rebels to leave their areas.

This has happened in several areas and cities in Damascus Suburbs, Daraa and many others. I am not a military expert and I cannot judge or discuss if it is feasible and possible for FSA recruits to move outside the cities so the regime would quit pouring its rage over the residents.

However, FSA must realize the tremendous pressures civilians are subjected to; the severe loses of lives and properties. What could really compensate for these burdens is to regain even partially what they have already started and embraced for many months -the revolution. This cannot be solved by continuing to ignore the civilians’ complaints against FSA recruits and battalions. Ignorance won’t compensate for the lack of synergy or synchronization among the brigades of the same area. Also, it won’t compensate for the lack of minimal level of compliance with the declared ethical and legal principles which FSA recruits are obliged to follow.

Just as is the case where civilians embraced armed rebels, they could also help them in many other things only if FSA decides to respond to their appeals and complaints. Civilians can form independent investigation councils consisted of local activists and designate neutral committees for receiving complaints. Moreover, if civilians were given a chance, they can monitor and penalize those battalions that committed actions jeopardizing their lives, properties and personal rights and freedoms.

On the other hand, it is beyond question that civil activists neglected their main duties in their areas and abandoned their responsibilities either to join the fighters or delegate their duties to them. Besides the fact that committees have weakened and local councils did not assume their expected roles in the liberated areas.

Lately, and only in a few areas, the fighters and civilians realized how much they need each other and started soliciting to reform together but these incidents are restricted with the areas and the number of involved battalions, too.

The appeals themselves are not organized in their demands, do not have united goals and do not give alternative solutions which should be studied and focused at to get the intended results.

This does not release FSA from its responsibility and does not give them an excuse to turn a deaf ear to the civilians’ complaints.

If this isn’t on the table, just for the sake of the people who loved FSA, chanted for it and protected the recruits in their homes and hearts before they were shelled and burned. You are the Defendants of Our Homeland… so bring that slogan back to life.