I recently had the privilege of interviewing Syrian political commentator Afraa Dagher. Throughout the conflict she has written pieces on the reality of this much misunderstood war as well as made appearances on a variety of global media outlets, including RT.
She is a patriotic Syrian whose words are deeply valuable to both the friends and foes of Syria, many of whom rely exclusively on non-Syrians for news and analysis about the country and its struggle.
Here is what she had to say.
Adam Garrie: What is your opinion of proposals coming from a number of places, arguing for Syrian federalisation?
Afraa Dagher: To understand why Syrians reject such proposals, one needs to revisit Syrian history. In 1920-1921, in the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon, General Henri Gouraud was appointed representative of the French government in the Middle East and commander of the French Army of the Levant, centred in Syria.
This General divided Syria into small regions, like Aleppo state for example and made the northern part of the mandate a Kurdish majority region in addition to an Alawite region, Druz region..…etc
Under such a pretext, there are inconsistent components. The intention was then as it is now, to break the country’s natural unity, so people wouldn’t be able to unite and counter the occupation!
They took Liwa Iskenderun from Syria in 1937 and in the year 1939 they granted it to Turkey! They also took parts of Damascus and annexed them to Lebanon , as a Christian region, so as to create Lebanon with sectarian and ethnic divides. This was all designed to federate, divide and conquer mother Syria!
Syrians fought this occupation and this federation, until they got their independence in the year 1946.
We must not repeat the painful history of federalisation which will only result in the elimination of this nation,making it fragile and unstable. Then we may then ‘need’ another foreign mandate and foreign forces to keep peace.
This is their devious pretext when it comes to federalisation.
Who could be so naïve to bring this catastrophe to his nation again!
AG: If as expected, the majority of Syrians reject such proposals, how would you expect Russia to act?
AD: I can only say this; it is the Syrians’ right to determine their destiny after more than 6 years of sacrifices. Russia has always said that at the end of the conflict it (the country’s future) would be Syrians’ decision.
AG: What is your view on the cooperation between the SDF ( Syrian Democratic Forces) and the Syrian Arab Army against Turkey and their jihadist FSA?
AD: Such a war with multiple enemies, necessarily imposes various conditions on all sides. The SDF is backed and sponsored by the US and the majority of them are Kurdish along with some foreigners!
The fact that Turkey is the number one enemy of the Kurds and also a considerable invader of Syrian land, perhaps led to cooperation between the Syrian Arab Army and Kurds at this point. However, in other areas when it comes to concepts like the federalisation, I do not think we are going to see such cooperation.
AG: Do you have any faith that the Geneva peace talks will produce anything meaningful?
AD: Here, I will reference the words of our ambassador in the UN, Dr Ja’afari, who asked the western countries to stop wasting their people’s money on supporting terrorists.
Unless all the countries directly related to this war like Turkey, the Arab Gulf, the EU countries and America, stop the financing, training and arming of the so called moderate rebels, all such conferences will be in vain.
AG: Who is Syria’s number one enemy?
AG: What is your view on the US sending in soldiers to aid the SDF?
AD: It is an invasion of our sovereign land. The SDF play the role of alternative/proxy troops for the US and for its project in this region. The same thing happened with Kurds in Iraq, who helped the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. They also played a dirty role in Syria throughout much of the conflict; ” the separatists Kurds”, so to speak.
AG: Who are Syria’s most important allies at this time?
AD: I have to state it vice versa, I would say that Syria is the first and most important ally of the resistance axis. Syria is the great ally against imperialist unipolarity represented by the US! I say this with due respect to our great allies and to their sacrifices.