SOHR exclusive | “The crises which Syrian people grappling with are serious accumulation caused by regime’s crimes and opportunism of opposition which lacks basic political qualifications,” says Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SOHR exclusive | “The crises which Syrian people grappling with are serious accumulation caused by regime’s crimes and opportunism of opposition which lacks basic political qualifications,” says Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib

Al-Khatib: “The current opposition body is ‘clinically dead,’ just like regime, and it is similar to Al-Baath.”

Al-Khatib: “USA, Russia and regional powers play silly game in our country and exert no serious efforts to reach solutions.”


Opposition Syrian bodies keep adherent to the possibility to implement the UN resolutions, mainly Resolution No. 2254 which is the main entrance to a political settlement. The opposition also refuse to strike any reconciliations with the Syrian regime, disregarding the changing stances and politics of many regional and international powers towards Al-Assad’s regime, after 11 years of the war which destroyed Syria, divided its people and paved the way for the entry of occupying powers.


In an exclusive interview with SOHR, the former president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib sees that the current opposition and Al-Baath Party are two sides of the same coin, and that the opposition is similar to the regime in terms of their ineffective efforts, describing them as “clinically dead” and clarifying that they will down soon in light of their political and popular failure.



Q: Many powers have bet on the return of Syria to the Arab fold from the gate of Algeria summit, scheduled to be held in November. However, the rejection of some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar, may prevent the restoration of Syria’s membership in the Arab League; this, in turn, paves the way to the normalising of relations with Al-Assad’s regime. How do you read the possibility to rehabilitate this regime?


A: The Syrian regime is “clinically dead,” and its rehabilitation adds nothing. The regime has already lost all self-capabilities enabling it to continue. It is common knowledge that the regime would have been toppled, unless it had been supported by Iran and Russia.


Some countries oppose the return of the Syrian regime to the Arab fold before it cuts its relations with Iran; and this is impossible. Al-Assad’s regime has gained its strength from its ally with Iran. Without Iran’s support, the regime will down. This is practically un realistic, and in the case that this matter happens, then it will raise the regime’s spirit and persuade it to normalise its relations with the world. It not about any privacy or respect by the regime to the Arab countries.



Q: Have Turkey’s normalisation of relations with the Syrian regime and the cause of the return of Syrian refugees, especially after threats by the Turkish opposition to expel refugees in the case it wins the coming presidential election, become a part of the “show” of the Turkish presidential election?


A: The Syrian crisis is complicated and there is no regional or international power has the ability to handle all issues and crises which Syria experiences, so putting an end to the crisis with the minimum losses is a victory for all powers. The Turkish authorities are under pressure exerted by the opposition to get Turkey out of Syria’s crisis. However, this issue will not come to an end soon, as the crisis cannot be rapidly contained, regardless which side will win the election.



Q: You refuse reconciliation with Al-Assad’s regime completely or the opposition coalition may accept it under specific conditions?


A: The term “reconciliation” is not accurate. The page cannot be turned on killing, torture, arrests, rape and displacement committed by the regime with a reconciliation. However, negotiations are important to break the deadlock of the Syrian crisis and reach a political settlement, and called for negotiations with the beginning of the crisis. It was clear that Syria was driven to destruction, but dealt savagely with Syrian people and used extreme violence, and it is still refusing all entrances for breaking the deadlock. The regime’s current slogan is “either I rule you, or I kill you.”


On the other hand, opportunism practiced by the Syrian opposition is not a new style, as the opposition has been all along seeking for gaining and clinging to positions. The Syrian opposition has not achieved any progress, and it would have been completely vanished, unless it had been imposed by international and regional powers.



Q: Has the opposition done anything wrong towards the Syrian Revolution and revolutionaries?


A: The crises which Syrian people are grappling with are a serious accumulation caused by the regime’s crimes and opportunism of opposition which lacks basic political qualifications and social and populist bases. The opposition achieved no progress and every official who was not able to undertake the tasks and role he had assumed must have left their positions.


Honestly, the current opposition and Al-Baath Party are two sides of the same coin. Currently, nobody supports the official opposition, so it has no a real effect. The current opposition body is ‘clinically dead,’ just like the Syrian regime, and it will be expelled by the regional power, which is hosting it now, after having proved its failure at the levels of political situation and populist support.



Q: 11 years passed after the spark of the Syrian Revolution, is there a chance for reaching a political settlement, after division of Syria into different zones of influence and intervention of at least five powers into the crisis?


A: The current developments indicate to the complication of the Syrian crisis further, and the repercussions of every regional or international crisis, the latest of which is the Russian-Ukrainian war and the “political paralysation” which has affected Europe, affect our country and our people.


The USA, Russia and regional powers play a silly game in Syria and exert no serious efforts to reach solutions. Those powers whether seek for achieving narrow personal interests or waste time to upset their opponents and enemies. If any of these powers reaches a solution, then this solution will serve the interest of only the bodies and authorities affiliated to this power, and it can never be a way out of the crisis. The Syrian regime is experienced in wasting time, while political cowardliness of the opposition has helped the regime to do so. However, the yearning for freedom is so strong, and it has managed to cope with most of the efforts designed to make it acquiesce. There will be a need to impose a political settlement soon, as the repercussions of the Syrian crisis have affected all powers.



Q: What about the political, social, security and service situations in the “liberated” areas?


A: This issue is very complicated, as the situation in these areas is very miserable and harsh, but there is a positive side at the same time. In the “liberated” areas, there is no a real leadership; it is all about names of ineffective positions. This has raised the awareness of the young generation that believes in the importance for the presence of a real and effective leadership, where the names of many well-known qualified and nationalist figures, who are not affiliated with any official opposition bodies, have come to the fore, and this is a positive side.


At the level of the social situation, some segments of Syrian society managed to cope with very harsh conditions, while many of our families are still struggling with starvation, extreme poverty, social and psychological disorder and lack of educational and health institutions. There are countless cases of children who have been forced to drop out of school and engage into labour market and other tragedies.


There are five powers dominating the “liberated” areas as follows:


  • Takfiri or bloody separatist powers, mostly sleeper and subversive cells.


  • Extremist formations have the task of covering up the movements by every formations required to be attacked.


  • Mercenary factions which depend on smuggling operations, drug business, kidnaps and thefts. These factions are the core of the security disorder and injustice, and their practices trigger public anger. There are noticeable efforts to eliminate these factions.


  • Revolutionary military formations that are still complying with morals and gains broad populist support. However, considerable pressure is exerted on these factions to push them into conflicts leading to their division and defame them.


  • Social and nationalist powers which enjoy strong and effective populist support and whose social and political awareness is on the rise. These powers have adopted courage stances and they are a major safety pin in these areas.


At the level of services, there are positive efforts, but the region lacks many services. It is worth noting that services in the “liberated” areas which adjacent Turkish provinces ruled by poorly-qualified governors are poorer that the services in the areas which adjacent Turkish provinces ruled by highly-qualified and experienced governors.



Q: What will happen if the Lebanese government decided to repatriate Syrian refugees? And are there communications between the coalition and Beirut?


A: That decision has been already taken, but the government has not been able to implement it so far. Despite reports on the voluntarily return of groups of refugees to Syria, there are no guarantees protecting the returnees. I was astonished when I saw a minister praising the security and stability in Syria, during an interview on BBC Arabic TV channel. He was taking as if he has never been aware of the atrocities committed by the regime’s intelligence services in Hawaran against the young men who had struck Russian-sponsored reconciliation deals, where many were arrested and tortured to death.


I do not think that there is a wise power desires to push people towards only one alternative path which is manifested the path of adopting extremism and bloody takfir ideology, in the case of compelling refugees to return.


Oppression practiced against some figures is unacceptable. The latest incident was the beating and verbally abusing the refugee affairs coordinator, Mr. Najy Al-Zain. I hope that the prime minister, Najib Mikati, will be able to address this incident.


Syrians have sought refuge in other countries to flee oppression; not to compete others and affect their livelihood.


Every Syrian civilian is looking forward to enjoying real safety and security in his country, thanking everyone supported and helped them in Lebanon and other countries and announcing their readiness to help and support everyone. The poorest Syrian refugee in asylum countries is more generous than many people around the world.