Battalions of the “Free Syrian Army” Repressing Voices of Civil Activists

Translated by; Aishah Barazi

At the beginning of the revolution, the Syrian regime was particularly targeting the icons of the peaceful movement; i.e. civil activists and their leaders. For example, the Syrian regime has mercilessly stricken Daraya city the symbol of non-violent movement and since more than two years, hundreds of its activists are under forced concealment.

Nowadays, after some battalions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have gained strength in liberated areas, the first thing they do is targeting the remaining few civil activists though the majority of them were martyred, imprisoned or forced to leave the country to refugee camps and exiles.

Most of these battalions forgot their battle with the regime, its warplanes and chemical weapons and focused on repressing the voices as well as banishing the remaining activists and media reporters in their areas. These are not just occasional incidents, in some areas they have become methodical actions that forewarn the worst.

Since mid of last June, the Violations Documentation Center in Syria has documented more than 30 cases of kidnapping, arbitrary detention and physical assault against the revolution’s activists and media reporters. This has been reported in Raqqa, Aleppo and its suburbs, Idlib, Daraa, Deir Ezzor and Damascus suburbs although the numbers are clearly showing that it is outbreaking in Raqqa and Aleppo in the first place.

As for the battalions that commit those violations, the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS) comes in the first place while the remaining violations can be equally divided between “Jabhat AlNusra”, FSA battalions and doctrinal committees.

In the past few days, there were two incidents of severe physical assault against well-known activists after raiding their committees headquarters. The first incident took place in Srarqeb by an unknown authority that is suspected to be “ISIS” and the second assault took place in Erbeen city, Damascus suburbs by one of FSA brigades. The reason behind the first assault is still unknown since the victims could not recognize the masked men who did it. On the other hand, the reason for the second assault was the brigade’s members “protesting” against a media report published by the committee.

In similar contexts, numerous Civil activists have received messages threatening to execute them and revenge from their sarcastic pages on Facebook that mock the fighting brigades in addition to some political and military leaders. Other activists were detained and threatened just because they have openly expressed their opinions, participated in demonstrations against the directories of their liberated areas or expressing ideologies that are different than those of their local directories. This happened in Aleppo when the doctrinal committee arrested one of the activists there under the charge of “Intellectual accusation” due to his secular ideology!

If all what have happened and still happening won’t push the real revolutionists and their icons to ring the danger bell, then the future is inevitably worse. Domination via arbitrary detention, kidnapping and even execution by those violators of humans rights and dignities is a serious threat. It warns with a new era of tyranny and directly killing our revolution in its core if not confronted with power, strength and cooperation of revolutionists all over the country. For what is happening in Raqqa or Aleppo can be easily replicated at any time in other liberated areas leading to freedom and dignity becoming the exceptions to the rule of confiscation and injustice.