I listen to NPR everyday on my way to work and it never fails to impress, entertain, and educate me. Today, on my to the lab – I know I have to work on Sundays *insert sad face of some sort* – I was listening to a short story on NPR about the current Syrian crisis and alleged use of chemical weapons. The report also interviews a Syrian refugee currently residing in Beirut who was interrogated and imprisoned for >17 months by Assad’s secrete police on alleged charges of aiding the enemy. Aiding the enemy as in caring for the injured and providing food for the needy, as far as he said.
When Ms. Martin asked him why he left Syria, Mohammad – Syrian refugee in Beirut – did so not only because Damascus morphed into something completely alien to him, with increasing detentions, checkpoints and violence, but also whenever he, “thought of liberated area I saw people with guns, you know? I saw Islami[s]ts. I saw, I don’t know, maybe worse than Al-Assad by the way… I saw people with beards, wearing this Afghani [turban], in Damascus actually.”
He goes on to conclude what I think is the epitome of Syrian crisis at this point:
“I’m not changing something bad for something worse.”
I think that the reason behind US/Russia differential, hesitant treatment of the crisis could be attributed to, at least in part, the fear of Islamist extremism which has already proliferated in the region. And, this is what Mohammad is alluding to here.
Really cool story, and I encourage you to give it a listen.