Listening to the Syrian Resistance

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, members of the resistance movement inside Syria were able to have a secure conversation last week with a small group of foreign-policy mavens in Washington, D.C. What they told us boils down to this: A revolution is under way. On one side is the dictator Bashar al-Assad, backed by Iran’s rulers, Hezbollah, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. On the other side are ordinary Syrians, facing bombs and bullets with the kind of courage exhibited in Tiananmen Square. Meanwhile, those who should be their allies dither.

“Why is Syria not as important as Egypt and Libya?” asked “Muhammad,” one of the resistance leaders on the Skype call connecting the offices of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies with an undisclosed location outside Damascus. His comments were translated by FDD fellow A,mmar Abdulhamid, a prominent Syrian dissident who was forced into exile in 2005. “We are facing a killing machine,” Muhammad added. Indeed, the Assad regime is estimated to have slaughtered more than 7,000 Syrian men, women, and children to date. “We are not asking for any boots on the ground,” he added. So what do they want? Supplies, equipment, secure communications technology — and, yes, the means to defend themselves, their families, their homes, and their communities.

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