A group of notables and intellectuals from the city of Siqilbia in the countryside of Hama have asked All4syria to publish the following statement. As requested by the group, which fears arrest by the regime forces, all names have been withheld.
"We are dissident notables and intellectuals from the city of Siqilbia in the countryside of Hama. We emphasize that targeting our city through arbitrary rocket fire serves no party but the Assad regime. We suspect that the regime is behind this operation, either directly or through its agents, especially taking the following points into consideration:
"Firstly, the people of the region know that the population of the city has today reached 30,000 people. 15,000 of these are Christian, 2,000 are Alawite, and the rest are Sunni brothers who have resided in the city since long before the revolution. This sectarian variety in the city helps to create a general public opinion against the regime, despite the mass official media recruitment.
"Secondly, the city has witnessed a reduction in the regime's popularity after the sale of the Tabqa airport and Brigade 17 to the Islamic State. The percentage of those against the regime has reached about 80% of the total population.
"However, since yesterday [Sunday], something strange has taken place; rockets have been falling on the houses of civilians in the city, spreading a sense of panic. Many of those who are against the crimes of Bashar Assad are questioning the alternative morality of the revolution, and whether the rockets were launched by real Syrian rebels or by pro-regime militias (the possibility that the regime itself is targeting the city is also likely).
"We do not deny that a minority of the youth in the city have joined Assad's militias after they were offered huge amounts of money, and especially given that most of them were unemployed previously. However, we confirm that the majority of the people in the city is not satisfied with this development. When their corpses arrive, most people walk in the funeral just to preserve the social relations, but no one sympathizes with the position of the regime".
Signed by the notables and intellectuals of the city of Siqilbia
Monday, 1 September, 2014.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer