On the second day of the truce in Gaza, a tragic incident unfolded in Idlib as an air strike by the Syrian regime claimed the lives of ten farmers who were innocently picking olives. While Syria has been plagued by crimes and atrocities for the past 12 years, this event stood out not only because of its criminality but also because of its timing, compelling us to address some pressing questions. These are questions that some may find uncomfortable or believe should be deferred until the Gaza war concludes. However, the urgency of the Syrian situation cannot be ignored.
Syrians are grappling with a perplexing paradox that portrays their oppressors as part of a supposed resistance. They question whether this characterization will once again prove hollow, as the international community has failed to support them and halt the atrocities committed by their own regime and its Iranian backers. Instead, the world has moved towards normalizing official relations with this murderous regime, all while attempting to downplay the crimes of the regime and its Iranian allies. Meanwhile, Syrians find themselves merely attached to the coattails of the resistance, with no significant influence on the ground in Gaza.
These Syrians ponder the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of their martyrs in sectarian war crimes at the hands of the regime and Iranian forces, the displacement of millions, and the countless cases of disappearance, torture, field executions, and widespread demographic changes. They wonder whether all this suffering was in vain. Is it justifiable to withhold judgment on a clearly defined criminal and heinous crime solely because of the misguided belief that the same criminal might exhibit nobility, honesty, and truthfulness elsewhere, even in Palestine?
Syrians also reflect on their honourable history of supporting Palestine and its cause, dating back to figures like Izz al-Din al-Qassam and the thousands of true martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Palestine without seeking personal gain or political advantage. This stands in stark contrast to their own regime, which has shamelessly exploited the Palestinian cause while being among its most egregious violators. Iran, in its quest for one-upmanship and self-interest, has surpassed even Syria in this cynical exploitation of others for its gain.
Does this rich history of Syrian support for Palestine hold any sway over those who feel discomfort, or even hostility, when Syrians raise concerns about “our killers whom you praise,” “victims of crimes who should not be discriminated against,” and “the friend of my friend” whom they insist should be their friend against their will, while their blood continues to flow from his daggers? This same individual deploys criminal militias to plunder their land, ravage their country, and displace their people. Ironically, these very militias are now presented as part of the “axis of resistance,” and their victims are expected to either applaud them or remain silent in the name of the greater battle.
This is not merely a matter of ignoring Syrian questions, as some may attempt to do, but rather a moral failing that should be evident to any fair-minded person. Those who seek truth and refuse to distort reality for temporary convenience cannot ignore the distortion, whether deliberate or unwitting, of the image of Palestine and the justice of its cause when associated with criminals, murderers, bandits, and terrorists. Such sectarians can never be genuine proponents of a just cause or noble actions.
The issue at hand goes beyond simply evading Syrian questions; it is a moral dilemma that plagues those who claim to uphold morality. Syrians find themselves in a real crisis unless they choose silence, for in doing so, they suppress their questions, allow their oppressors to be glorified undeservingly, and inadvertently distort the truth and history.
Regrettably, our Arab world today finds itself entangled in a web of interconnected interests, where opposing forces are in close proximity. While the Syrian killers continue their atrocities with impunity, proponents of the “priorities” theory demand that the victims postpone their self-defence and permit the slaughter to continue unabated, all because the butchers are somehow part of these supposed priorities.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.