SOHR exclusive | “Only military council can tackle arms proliferation and terrorism issues,” says Suhaib Ghannam
Constitutional Commission is a waste of time, and a country's constitution cannot be drafted outside its borders.
The military personnel in Syria continue to cling to the necessity to establish a transitional military council to eliminate terrorism, combat the proliferation of arms, protect Syria and its people, and put an end to the ongoing overlapping crises and the painful era of war.
From another point of view, holding power by a military council will be a new era of repression or just a reflection of the regime’s tightened security and military grip that the Syrian people will suffer from after the ongoing struggle for freedom.
Sohaib Ghannam, a Syrian Military Council officer, in an exclusive SOHR interview, says that the transitional military council is capable of restoring the state of security stability in the country, renouncing and putting an end to internal divisions caused by the conflict, and stopping bloodshed. He also assures that only this council will break the Syrian deadlock.
Q: 11 years have passed since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution that turned Syria into a torn and fragile country and consolidated the regime authority. What is your analysis of the situation?
A: Neither the consolidation of regime authority has come out of the power of regime, nor the fragility of the country has been one of the outcomes of the uprising, yet Al-Assad regime is still in power due to support by Russia and the Iranian-backed militias with all means as well as the weakness, or “complicity,” of the countries considered to be allies of the Syrian people. While Syria has become a fragile country due to Bashar Al-Assad regime’s clinging to power and its willingness to devastate everything for the sake of keeping in power. No one can ignore the slogan that was chanted by regime supporters “Al-Assad to be in power or we burn the country,” so Al-Assad has burnt the country down.
Q: Do you think that the time has come to establish a TMC after the failure of all efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis?
A: Since 2012, we have called for and asserted the need to establish a Military council especially in light of the horrible situation in Syria due to the proliferation of weapons, the prevalence of armed groups, the chaos in administrations and the security vacuum. All these issues can be tuned and controlled only by a central national military force. In light of the confusion and political dispersion of the opposition, and the internal defeat of the regime, It is time for the Security Council to enforce the Resolution no. 2254 which stipulates for the insurance of a de facto political transition in Syria led by a transitional governing body, topped by military council.
Q: How do you follow the issue of regime tightening grip and censorship on social media as a part of the crackdown on freedom of expression?
A: I do not think that the use of the term “tightening” is appropriate as it implies that the regime had guaranteed the people freedom of opinion and expression. Since 1970, this regime has imposed all strict and rigorous measures on the Syrians and deprived them from the fundamental right of freedom of expression. The Syrian regime committed heinous crimes and killed Syrian people when they expressed their opinion in 2011. Currently, some individuals believe that the regime have imposed aggravating measures on freedom of speech when former regime supporters, who had defended Al-Assad’s regime, began to criticise the regime. Therefore, their criticism resonated widely. Meanwhile, the regime’s policy of oppression and criminality against anyone expressing their opinion has been unchanged, there had never been freedom of expression to tighten censorship on it.
Q: What is your assessment of the Western and Arab countries’ stance towards the Syrian conflict?
A: The Western and Arab stance was far below the expectations of Syrian people. Some Western or Arab countries may invoke and gave weak arguments to justify their negligence and inaction towards Syrian people, but these arguments have only contributed to killing more Syrians, protected and saved none of them from starvation, humiliation, asylum and displacement and left them struggling with dire living conditions. Through these arguments are Western and Arab countries have attempted to justify their failure to stand for the rights of the Syrian people. The stance of Western powers in particular towards Syrians has been a stark contrast to slogans they profess in support of the rights of peoples.
Q: After four years of the ongoing operation of “Olive Branch” in north Syria, what are the repercussions of this operation, and can anyone accept the occupation of this territory by any party, even by an allied country such as Turkey?
A: We, the Syrians, trust the expected positive role of the international community and the states concerned with Syrian affairs. Certainly, no one accepts occupation, and no one accepts the displacement of Syrian civilians from their homes or the illegal occupation of private property. That is unacceptable at all levels and violates all standards of human rights. But before we condemn or support this issue, we must ask whether the entry of the National Army into Afrin or other Syrian territories was a solo decision made by the National Army itself, or it followed international agreements for reciprocal deportation of certain parties!
Al-Assad and the international deals made under the table are blamed for the deportation and displacement of Syrians who have been the only victims of such deals. All oppressed Syrians must stand together to regain all their fundamental rights that have been denied, the first of which is the restoration of their country from Al-Assad gang.
Q: Has the Ukrainian crisis propelled Syria’s crisis to a deadlock, and do you have concerns over the ongoing international political stalemate due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that may hinder the endeavours to resolve the Syrian crisis?
A: I believe that the Ukraine conflict has no connection with the Syrian issue, and the Syria crisis has reached a deadlock because of decisions by some countries controlling the Syrian issue years before the war in Ukraine.
Q: Why has the Constitutional Committee failed so far to accomplish its task, and do you expect that a new constitution will be successfully drafted?
A: Basically, the Constitutional Committee has no clear tasks to say that it has failed to fulfil its tasks. The Constitutional Commission is a waste of time, and a country’s constitution cannot be drafted beyond its borders and with no popular referendum.