Anti-government militia in Syria become 'oppressing force themselves'
The bodies of 13 civilians - mostly women and children - have been discovered in Syria's western province of Homs. Syrian state media have blamed the deaths on rebel forces, claiming the victims had been robbed.
RT:Three vicious attacks within 2 weeks - and most of the victims civilians. What does this tell us about what the conflict is descending into?
Ammar Waqqaf: The conflict is really intensifying week after week as we see. There is no doubt at the moment that this has turned very much into a war to bring down the Syrian state. This started, probably, from the Arab or Muslim point of view to support their oppressed brothers and sisters in Syria, but it turned out that they were not at all oppressed. The theory was that once they see some international community support, some support from their brothers and sisters that they would actually abandon the regime, but it turned out that they didn’t. And now the only way for those, who committed all sorts of money and weaponry and so on, is to actually bring a huge influx of weaponry of fighters and so on and so forth and all the necessary logistics, including for example female entertainers for male jihadists, I mean I’ve seen a Tunisian couple weeping and pleading with their under-aged daughter not to go for entertaining male jihadists in Syria. So, this has become very bizarre, and it has gone very intense, and those who had committed all sorts of billions and billions of dollars have no way back but to try and throw out the Syrian government in any way or shape they can.
RT:There seems to be more civilian targets. Why would either side gain by targeting civilians?
AW: I am going to talk about the side of the armed groups mainly here if I may. The theory was, again, that once they go into a certain place they should be viewed as liberators from the oppression of the regime or the government. What turned out is that they weren’t viewed as liberators, but as an oppressing force themselves. So, there is huge intimidation taking place. I mean we’ve seen yesterday in the Shaikh Masood area in Aleppo that they cut off the head of a local cleric and hanged it over the minaret. Some people would be disturbed with this bad news, but it’s a huge intimidation that is taking place and those who don’t take the view of these armed groups, especially extremists Islamic views are immediately punished, so that everyone else obeys in a sense. So, I would not be surprised at all to see the most horrendous atrocity taking place in order to try and neutralize anybody in an area that is recently occupied by these armed groups.
RT:Is there room for any dialogue between the government and rebel forces?
AW: I can’t see. There is a huge ideology that is taking place here. The corner stone for the philosophy of the rebels at the moment is extreme Islamic and there is no tolerance for such ideologies. The politicians who claim to support the anti-government side really do not have a lot of leverage on the ground, so talking with them is probably no more than a PR campaign to gain some popularity for this political leader or that one. It remains to be seen how they can and who can control these groups. They are numerous, they are not coherent, and we’ve seen for example a couple of weeks ago that the leader and the person, who created the free Syrian army, suffered an assassination…