Shame on Humanity/ Commentary by Reverend Andrew Ashdown

Photo Credit: Reverend Ashdown

Five years ago, I shared a 3 hour journey with one of Syria’s leading internal opposition figures, Samir Hawwash.. He is an impressive figure who has been involved in Russian peace negotiations, but like most internal Syrian politicians, was excluded from western ‘peace processes’.

In 2010 he was informed by a colleague in Turkey: “Get ready. There is going to be a war in Syria. It has all been planned.”

He was involved in early demonstrations but was told early on that an armed uprising was being planned with assistance from outside. He said: “When the demonstrations began, most people wanted change, but now maybe 60-70% of Syrians in the country support President Assad as the only person who can hold the country together. He has become a symbol of unity.”

It was the militants who fired first in the early demonstrations he said. In the first days of the ‘peaceful’ demonstrations, over 80 soldiers were killed – the names and dates are documented. (I have heard very similar accounts from people who were involved in demonstrations in Homs, Lattakia and Damascus. Hawwash continued: “All the militant groups want to see a Muslim State and the division of the country, whilst the unarmed parties seek a secular pluralist State.

But the internal opposition parties are not given credence in the international arena. Turkey will support any opposition as long as regime change is the goal. The only goal on the part of the international community from the very beginning has been regime change, and they are wiling to allow the destruction of the country to achieve it.”

This is confirmed by the meetings in Parliament that I have attended and documents I have read. Our government and media are fed and accept only one narrative – that of the militant-supporting Muslim Brotherhood exiles who advise them, or members of the Al-Q’da linked militant groups themselves.

Politicians, analysts, NGO representatives and religious figures have consistently refused to listen to the voices of Syrian citizens themselves from inside Syria.

Today, the people of Syria are queueing for bread for hours and facing a humanitarian crisis thanks to international sanctions. The needs and interests of millions of innocents are of no concern before the economic and political interests and agendas of external powers. (And we have seen the interests, welfare and wishes of the Armenian people of Nagorno Karabakh sacrificed on the same altar of geopolitical interests).

It is truly a shame on humanity. Lord, have mercy.