The "homeland's bosom" has become a common term every Syrian repeats sarcastically. The Syrian regime and its media repeat the phrase day after day as if it were to suggest a return to the barn and house of obedience without question.
"Homeland's bosom" is a loftier term than the Syrian regime insists, often employed as an empty slogan at every "national" occasion. The regime equally distributes this slogan to all Syrians as it indescriminately distributes bullets, shells and shrapnel – except for a number of regions who view the regime as a savior.
How does the regime see the "homeland's bosom"?
The Syrian regime's concept of "homeland's bosom" became clear at the beginning of the Syrian revolution; it meant the rejection of those who rebelled against it, those who were military defectors or civilians participating in peaceful demonstrations for a democratic, civil and pluralistic regime, treating all of Syrian society equally.
The "Homeland's bosom" was large enough to swallow tens of thousands of Syrian youths, returning to its bosom through the regime's random and indescriminate mass-arrests. The arrests would later come to include women, children and the elderly.
The soldiers who defected from Assad's military have left the "homeland's bosom", now rebels and no longer sons of Syria (according to the regime). They are traitors, undeserved of life near or far from the bosom of the homeland.
As for the many civilians who demonstrated over Syria, either arrested in public or in systematic raids, "homeland's bosom" became the police cells and cellars in which they were packed together.
The regime has expanded their notion of the "homeland's bosom", dividing neighborhoods with barriers in all Syrian cities, investigating all who pass, subjecting them to thorough investigation, instilling in them the fear of departure from the "homeland's bosom".
Young people aged between 19 and 23 years old are at risk of arrest in the streets, in buses or in places of work. Cities that lie under regime control, particularly in Damascus, has seen an influx of displaced people from all areas ruined by three years of continuous war. Those young men who refused join the army to fight against their own people, who are labelled by the regime as terrorists, suffer from immense pressure. On the other hand, the Syrian regime has worked to impose tough restrictions on the freedom of movement, to prevent citizens from traveling to escape recruitment. These restrictions included new immigration laws on the issuance or renewal of passports, where the cost of a passport has risen to nearly 300 US dollars. The cost is categorized under the reservation tax, imposed by the regime in order to those who can afford to avoid conscription. The regime continues to deceive its people; according to activists in Damascus, a government institution announced job offers to more than 300 people. Most of them were arrested on the grounds a large number were wanted for military service.
These actions carried out and endorsed by the Syrian regime's security apparatuses, who oversees civil and private sectors, as part of their concept of returning to the "homeland's bosom". The regime's supporters are also subjected to this deception and abuse, whether from the Alawite community or from other minorities. It's amusing that the regime cites the "protection of minorities" as an excuse, claiming dedication and devotion to these minorities, as if their loyalties are unrelated to their fear of the consequences of its tyranny.
The "Homeland's bosom" has recently grown to accommodate all things. It can accommodate thousands of coffins and corpses returning from the battlefield, the corpses of Syrian people, caught inside the regime's trap and its resonant promises of victory over terrorism.
Large numbers of Alawites continue to flee abroad to escape recruitment in regime forces. According to Saudi Arabia's Al-Watan newspaper, thousands of young Alawites have escaped to Lebanon or coastal mountains, away from the grip of the shabeeha and the military police. Al-Watan also states that most young Alawite and Druze men are alarmed by the regime's actions, following the neglect of their relatives detained by armed opposition groups and the radical militias, while the regime continues to negotiate with these parties for the release of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters.
Demonstrations have emerged in Alawite areas condemning the actions of the regime, where campaigns were launched against the recruitment of young Alawite men, carrying slogans like "the throne for you and the coffins for our sons".
In Suweida, statistics show the numbers of civilian and military deaths are on the rise, as the number of deaths and missing reached around 1,000 and 2,000, respectively. The estimated number of young men who have refused to join the regime's army since the outbreak of military confrontation is believed to be around 12,000.
Druze sheikhs have issued statements claiming the Syrian regime's concept of the "homeland's bosom" signifies blind obedience, even if it drives their sons to the guillotine. They reject the slogan after seeing the number of the dead returning to the province from a war that is not theirs.
The achievements of the "homeland's bosom" produced other things, beside the tenderness exported by the Syrian regime to the Syrian street and the world. And the bosom now develops economic and infrastructure projects to persuade young Syrians to stay.
When the regime reached a stage of total military refraction in some provinces and regions, it began to expand "homeland's bosom" to integrate with another bosom in Iran. The Syrian bosom become a common one that embraces all those who gather before it.
Is the Syrian idea of the "homeland's bosom" similar in other countries? Or does it possess a special meaning for Syrian people because the world betrayed them, namely their "sister" Arab countries?
Coffins, corpses, mass graves, destruction, barrels, displacement, starvation, rape, arrests, looting, bribery, favouritism, the destruction of an entire nation – all of these sponsored by the "homeland's bosom" and its beloved leader.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer