After months of talk, the United States and its allies may now be on the verge of military intervention in Syria. As American military leaders met with European and regional leadership in Amman to discuss the Syrian crisis, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the BBC Tuesday that the U.S. has “moved assets into place” and is ready to strike.
On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the chemical weapons attack that killed approximately 1,500 people in the Damascus suburbs last week, calling it an “indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used.”
“Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people,” Kerry added.
Syria Direct spoke with rebel fighters and activists on Tuesday to hear their thoughts on potential military intervention in Syria.
Fahed al-Masri, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Joint-Command in Paris
We have asked in a formal statement to form an international military coalition separate from the UN Security Council with the purpose of organizing military intervention in Syria. The crisis will not end without a swift surgical air operation. This regime can’t participate in dialogue but should instead be pulled up from its roots.
Without military intervention, this crisis will last for years because of Iranian and Russian support [for the regime], and because of the UN Security Council’s paralysis on this issue.
On European participation in the potential intervention: If Europe cares about its safety, it has to interfere immediately [in Syria]. What the Syrian streets are witnessing today might move to European streets. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime pose a threat to regional, national and international security. The world must get rid of it and al-Qaeda at the same time.
Abdulbasset Saed a-Dein, president of the FSA Command in Aleppo, part of the FSA Joint Command
“The military intervention is in the interests of the Syrian people, to solve the Syrian crisis by striking regime targets and military bases, in particular ballistic missile launch sites.”
Firas, media activist with the United Media Office of Homs
If the intervention is to hit military targets and enforce a no-fly zone, then I support it. [But] I am against intervention on the ground in Syria, to avoid what happened in Iraq.
Striking military targets will stop missile attacks and air raids that kill thousands of civilians, and we’ve been hearing about this no-fly zone for two years but nothing has happened yet.
Abu Moawia, field authority for the FSA’s Moawia Brigade in Damascus
We don’t want military intervention on the ground because intervention is reoccupation, planting the West here in our country.
America will not interfere unless it is sure that Assad has chemical weapons, and that he is definitely on his way out.
Sama Masoud, spokesman for Syria Live, an opposition-leaning news network in Damascus
American intervention comes at a time when they know that the Syrian regime is falling. There is no doubt about it. Now that [America] sees us winning, it wants to show us that it can help.
Abu Jaffar, activist in Homs
Absolutely [I support military intervention] because the Syrian regime does not respect international law nor the international community. It is using all kinds of chemical weapons and cluster bombs to massacre in Syria. There is no one who can stop it from continuing in this way, only military intervention.
The majority [of opposition Syrians] want it to happen, but there are fears that an intervention might target rebel strongholds because there are extremists there.
Abu Mohammad, spokesman for the Shield of Truth Brigade in Homs
We [in the FSA] are not against U.S. intervention, but we want it to be carried out by Syrian hands, rather than American ones. In other words, we want them to help us with weapons and a no-fly zone. Don’t they know that the FSA controls the ground and the regime controls the air?
We are of course afraid that the U.S. Army could hit the FSA before Assad’s army. Also, [a military intervention] will hit everything that is economically important to Syrians. If a ground military intervention happens, Syria’s borders will be redrawn. Every Syrian rejects the idea of dividing Syria.
Mohamed, manager of the pro-revolution Dara’a Media Office
I am with the intervention if it takes down the regime. The Syrian people’s opinion is that they are with this intervention if it takes down the regime, in any way, and end the crisis.
The military intervention could not be more destructive than what Assad’s regime is doing to Syria. It could not be any harder on the people.
Kerry’s speech did not give the green light to terminate the regime, so it did not meet the Syrian people’s hopes. It only adds more question marks.