5 Syrians in Moscow talk about chemical weapons

Can Russia help Syria? Source: Reuters

Can Russia help Syria? Source: Reuters

Syrian expats have mixed feelings about Russia’s role in their country’s civil war.

RBTH asked five Syrian expats in the Russian capital about the war in their homeland and Russia’s role.

Hasan Aldash, engineer and entrepreneur

Large global players do not respect the interests of our people, our right to freedom and democracy, our right to live a full-fledged life, and they don't care about the consequences for our country. The chemical weapons were a deterrent against Israel.

The [Syrian] regime gave up these weapons in a matter of 10 minutes in order to stay in power. The Russian initiative in this regard is a game negotiated by Russia with America and al-Assad's regime. The Russian proposal in the current form is useful just for the regime and al-Assad personally, but it makes Syria weaker and gives a free hand to Israel.

Amin Aldager, engineer and entrepreneur

The Russian initiative is good from the point of view that it is preventing a strike on Syria, and in this sense it is saving many Syrians from death and misery. If a strike had taken place, radical Islamists would have won in Syria.

However, the Russian initiative will not put an end to the crisis if it does not include the cessation of inflow of militants from the outside and the pressure on the parties to the conflict to force them to take part in Geneva 2 to find a political solution and to form a transitional government of national unity.

Nidal Abu Ali, doctor and civil servant
Nidal Abu Ali. Source: Personal arhive.

Nidal Abu Ali, doctor and civil servant

The fact that this Russian initiative has pushed aside a probable aggression against Syria is already enough. However, this does not solve the problem. A political decision is necessary – it is needed to sit down at the negotiating table, and the initiative could lead to that.

Russia did what it was supposed to do, and now America should stop arming the terrorists. After that, the true opposition will remain, and then the parties will sit down at the negotiating table. But Russia should have a clear program for peace talks, which will provide the Syrian people with the democratic requirements that were recognized as necessary, even by the Syrian government.

Nedal Khudr, doctor

There is a feeling of resentment that all the problems of the regime are being solved at the expense of the country's military security. The chemical weapons, after all, are the property of Syrians, and they are converted into a bargaining chip to save the regime and leave the Syrian people in a desperate situation.

The question arises: if this bargain initiative stops the external violence, can it stop the internal violence? Russia should put pressure on the regime and should not forget that the people have just demands, for which they took to the streets two-and-a-half years ago. These are demands for freedom, justice and democracy. Where is a Russian initiative on these issues?

Ahmed al-Dari, pharmacist and entrepreneur

I can see that all the initiatives and deals around Syria revolve around one point – the security of Israel, but not the security of the Syrian people. And the recent initiative extends the life of the regime indefinitely and puts the Syrian people into a dangerous and humiliating situation.

And what difference does this make for the regime? The regime will agree, even if it remains in power in a small part of Syria. Moscow understands all this and perhaps has even agreed to a division of Syria, if it considers that this small part would provide for its interests. I wish would Russia to be true to its promises and really protect the Syrian state, not the regime.

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