Syria: civil resistance re-emerges in fighting lull
The Syria Ceasfire Monitor and Syrian Observatory on Human Rights report that the (partial) ceasefire that took effect Feb. 26 has in fact seen plenty of violations. Over 135, inlcuding many civilians, have been killed in regime and Russian air-strikes—and not only on ISIS and Nusra forces, which are officially excluded from the ceasefire, but in "truce areas" not controlled by these groups. But, as sources from the New York Times to The New Arab note, there has indeed been a significant lull in the fighting, which has allowed civil movements to re-emerge in the "free" areas. Residents have been once again taking to the streets under the slogan "The Revolution Continues," chanting and singing for the "fall of the regime," and waving the pre-Baathist flag adopted during the early, largely peaceful stages of the revolution—before the proliferation of armed Islamist factions with black jihadist banners. This has happened repeatedly over the past several days in Idlib, Darayya, Aleppo and elsewhere. Very inspiring video footage of the demonstrations has been posted to Facebook.
So the Syrian revolution never went away. It was eclipsed by the war, but springs forth again as soon as there is a lull in the fighting... demonstrating amazing resilience, in spite of betrayal by the entire world (first and foresmost so-called "progressives" in the West).
This new mobilization does indeed recall the idealistic and hopeful early days of the Syrian revolution, exactly five years ago. We followed the emergence of the revolution from that start. When protesters first started taking to the streets, we hoped the flame would spread (as indeed it did), but also feared the regime response. We sure wish these fears had not been so prescient. But even we did not anticipate the current disaster. We were afraid of massacres. We did not anticpate massacre after massacre after massacre—again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again—all ignored by the outside world until it escalated to internal war, and then the world watching unconcerned as Bashar Assad went on to destroy his own country, eventually escalating to actual genocide—use of chemical weapons and a systemtatic "extermination" of the civil population in areas under his control.... Until finally, worried about the rise of jihadists, the Great Powers intervened on the wrong side. And all the while, "progressives" around the world abetting the regime's propaganda—again and again and again and again and again.
We have to admit that we predicted the ceasefire would be a total bust. We dont usually make predictions, and when we do we are usually right. There is still a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop, but for moment it seems that Russia is reining in the regime while Turkey and the US are reining in the rebels. And however short-lived this lull might prove, and no matter what horrors may follow, it has (if briefly) returned Syria's civil resistance to the global headlines—in heartening repudiation of those who deny that this heroic, principled, secular pro-democratic movement exists.