Hundreds of people from the city of Azaz took to the streets raising the Syrian revolutionary flag and saluting revolutionary groups, while calling for the unification of ranks which are witnessing a break up in the revolutionary vision and the spread of discord among the rebels.
The demonstration came a day after a group burned the flag of the Syrian revolution in one of the main squares in the city of Azaz, saying it was a symbol of secularism. The move sparked a great deal of outrage among the residents and rebel groups, as the revolutionary flag has been a major symbol of the Syrian revolution mobilization since 2011.
The Syrian revolutionary flag, which was previously the flag of independence from French colonial rule, is a symbol of the Syrian revolution, which was raised by protesters in the beginning of the revolutionary mobilization to distinguish the banner of the revolutionaries from the flag of the Assad forces and his shabeeha.
The flag-burning came as a response to the entry of American forces into northern Syria to participate in Operation Euphrates Shield with the approval of some Free Syrian Army units, which adopted the flag as their own. Therefore some consider the flag to symbolize submission to the West and allying with them, in a reference to the Free Syrian Army and its factions.
A number of calls had emerged previously from many groups, most prominently the Ahrar al-Sham movement, Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), and a number of groups from the Free Syrian Army and civilian revolutionary actors to rely on the Syrian revolutionary flag as the unified flag gathering all rebel groups. However, some revolutionary factions reject the flag and perceive it as a symbol of foreign agents, thereby complicating the issue of the symbolic flag in the revolutionary arena.
Despite all the factional disputes and the diversity of flags, the Syrian revolutionary flag, which widely symbolizes independence, has remained popular among revolutionary factions. Bodies of martyrs are still wrapped in it and shrouded in the fabric which symbolizes freedom, sacrifice, and victory.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.