Syria: Al-Shara In Footsteps Of Hijab And Manaf – OpEd


By Abdulrahman Al-Rashid

IF Syrian Vice President Farouq Al-Shara crosses into Jordan, it would deal a new blow to the Syrian regime. Al-Shara is from Deraa, a place where the revolution kicked off against Bashar Assad following the arrest and torture of children because they wrote on the walls anti-government slogans. Deraa, which is located in the south of capital Damascus and one-hour drive from there, remains a key corridor for dissidents and arms smugglers and a border gate with Jordan. Therefore, the town has been a target of Assad forces who have been killing and bombing opposition fighters for the past 17 months. However, they (Assad forces) have failed to quell the uprising there.

Farouq Al-Shara
Farouq Al-Shara

The importance of Al-Shara stems from his position as being part of the regime for decades, who knows its secrets unlike (former) Prime Minister Riyad Hijab who announced his defection from the regime only 40 days after assuming office. What alarms the Syrian regime most is the defection of military and security leaders. A number of military leaders in the past two months have defected, for example Yarub Al-Shara, Farouq Al-Shara’s cousin and one of the key security officials in Damascus, and Manaf Tlass who defected earlier. The importance of defecting leaders and army officers originates from their support to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and revolutionaries. The blowing up of the Army Staff Command last week and the earlier explosion at the National Security building seem to explain the presence of some sort of infiltrators within the security organs due to military defections and communications with staff in the security sector.

As we can see, the defection of a man like Al-Shara, in his capacity as the vice president, and the assignment of Lakhdar Brahimi as a UN envoy to end the Assad regime through peaceful means are two important events but, are not likely to change anything in Damascus due to Russia’s position and its unlimited support to the Syrian regime at all levels. In fact, what will change the situation, bring down the regime and end the tragedy there depend on how to support the Free Syrian Army and fighters and provide them with weapons and intelligence. The Syrian revolution has completed the basic stages of change that centered on the overthrow of the regime being the desire of the majority of the Syrian people; gaining international support and then switching to armed confrontation because of brutality and violence perpetrated by the regime. Certainly, a majority of senior officials as well as many of the security and military members are eager to defect and flee, a matter that will not be easy job for them.

The Syrian regime has lost a number of ministers, security and military figures but still the head of the regime remains stubborn. Bashar Assad has shown brutality and ferocity never experienced in our modern history. In the last few months, he committed deliberate crimes against civilians whose brutality exceeded the levels perpetrated by his father Hafiz Assad and the two harshest dictators in the region: Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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