July 8, 2013
Translated by; Aishah Barazi
Battles relentlessly continue at all frontiers of Eastern Ghouta area. Nevertheless, even with the progress that has been achieved lately by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in some areas, the residents and fighters do not hide their fears of the regime’s army fierce attempts to proceed in those areas in addition to their constant raid campaigns.
Everyone says that the next battle after Qusair city will be here in Eastern Ghouta which resides under an unprecedented siege. And why not when these wide areas that have been freed from the regime’s fist are only a few miles away of Damascus city. One of the many things that cross my mind on the way through the liberated towns and villages to the headquarters of the “Furqan Battle.”
Launch of the Furqan battle was announced on May 13th, 2013 with a united leadership of several military units to encounter attacks by the Syrian regime’s forces and complete the liberation of Eastern Ghouta. Some of the key fighting battalions in the area are participating in this battle: Shuhada’a Douma, AlBaraa and Islam battalions.
At the headquarters, the commander of Mujahidi Douma Council, deputy commander of the Revolution’s Military Council in Ghouta and commander of Furqan battle: “the dignitary” Abo Sibhi Taha broke the ice and drew a fine line between us; Human Rights lawyers; who perfected the art of “edification” about justice and rights and the real fighters who do not really care about our pontification in the legal and righteous matters.
“We are here fighting two enemies: the regime on one hand and mosquitoes on the other hand. The situation becomes unbearable between sunset and sunrise of the following day.”
This might be the only thing we share with the fighters at the other side of the frontier: mosquitoes and countless kinds of bugs! as fierce as the regime itself. The piles of wastes that have accumulated and lack of pesticides for so long turn nighttime here into a living nightmare.
It is not an easy task to carry a long conversation with “the dignitary” Abo Sibhi for he is a very good listener who confidently and shortly expresses his ideas while the people around him take the burden of elaborating and explaining those ideas.
We started the conversation with our “fears” regarding violations of human rights, the importance of documenting liberated security branches and the situation of prisoners and detainees inside of them. We were shocked twice!
The first answer shocked our “rosy dreams” for being too frank! We asked about the liberated security branches and how important it is to reserve all documents and tangible items or tools used for torturing prisoners or anything else. Abi Sibhi told us that this is absolutely important but practically impossible! After any battle, an atmosphere abound with rage prevails on the ground and it is difficult to control the emotions of fighters, who are fathers, brothers and sons of martyrs, or prevent them from burning and destroying those branches which symbolize torture, murder and unjust. However, if the fighters understand the pretext behind saving the contents of those branches; that it would reveal the destiny of many missing people or disclose the names of those involved in the killing and torturing of prisoners; they would refrain from setting them on fire.
The second answer of Abo Sibhi also shocked us but with his courage. when we asked him what we could offer for them as HR lawyers, he said: ”whoever stood against the regime’s violations even before the beginning of the revolution, is obliged to do the same against violations taking place here in our prisons.”
He stated the following in other words: ”we won’t accept unfairness, wear the same dress -of disgrace- or build our country over skulls. We are going to build it on the right bases, everyone will be subjected to interrogation and our true vengeance is in the actual fulfillment of justice.”
Is there any other message that is more beautiful or deep to be sent from a revolutionary commander to other revolutionists and all Syrians?
We had to conclude our interview with some questions that all civilians are looking for their answers especially with the attendance of numerous commanders of battalions to whom “the dignitary” has left the conversation regarding the situation at the frontier. Where are we going? And how is the Furqan battle progressing?
Captain Abo Ali, leader of the commandos forces, with his traditional uniform as if he just came out of the famous sequel “Ayyam Shamiyeh” (Levantine Days) said that battles are extremely fierce, there is tremendous pressure -by the regime’s forces- and ammunition is the only thing they lack. The surroundings of the eastern suburbs of Damascus city are all on fire starting from the Abbasiyeen Square via Adra prison till Damascus International Airport and the Southern roundabout. The campaign is huge and covers broad areas. The attacking forces mostly constitute of foreign thugs who received a high-tech training.
Just like everyone else, he also complained about the weak media coverage of battles in Ghouta claiming that the Qusair battle took all media’s attention though what is happening in Ghouta is crucial.
Abo Omar, a field leader, focused on the food siege imposed on Eastern Ghouta where the regime completely prohibits entrance of any food supplies and wheat flour besides controlling the mills and burning crops.
What about Geneva II? we asked Abo Sibhi, he said they do not count on it and if the Syrian opposition will go, they will only carry their personal disputes and problems.
Even with fear that you can clearly see in their eyes, everyone speaks about the moment of freedom with great certitude that no one could feel unless he/she is a true Syrian revolutionist. The moment of freedom being built with each victory achieved at the frontiers however, we should never forget not even for one second that “we will not build our country over skulls, we won’t wear the same dress -of disgrace- and our true vengeance will be through the actual fulfillment of justice.”
Syrian human rights activist lawyer, participated in Syrian revolution in 2011 and was one of the founders of the Local Coordination Committees, which has been active in organizing peaceful movement in Syrian revolution. Razan holds several international awards in human rights and freedom of expression.
Razan continued her humanitarian work in east Ghoutta in countryside of Damascus, but she was kidnapped with three other colleagues (Samira AlKhaleel, Nazim Hammadi, and Wael Hammadeh) by extremist group that controls the area, in December 2013.
Razan is one of the founders of “Talaana Aaharih” Rising For Freedom magazine, and she kept working as a key editor until she was kidnapped.