“The Syrian Resistance” Declaring the Cleansing of Banyas
This video was leaked on 5 May 2013, two days after the first massacre in Banyas that claimed between 200 and 500 lives. The series of ongoing massacres in Banyas have been described by activist as systematic cleansing, especially in the towns of Bayda and Ras El-Ein.
The leaked video shows a commander of what’s called “The Syrian Resistance”, an armed militia from Turkey functioning under the Syrian regime’s wing. The leader in the video is reported to be a Turkish man from Antakya, a province in Turkey mainly inhibited by Alawies. Surprisingly enough, the gathering where this speech was given is attended by a cleric, whose appearance suggests that he’s of the Alawi sect.
The commander speaks of a frontline where he has fought many battles in North Syria near the boarder with Turkey. Activist @Nuffsilence mentions that those areas are at the same road that connects Jeser Shughour with Ras Elbaseet and Kassab, through the Frulluq Forests. The image below is his approximation of where the battles took place.
On the day where the operation on Banyas had started, Assad supporters had cheered in joy for the idea of tearing down a part of Banyas to build resorts or grow potatoes. It’s obvious now that their enthusiasm’s source is not void, and that news of this massive operation on Banyas was speculating within their circles.
Recently, the mainstream media and the public opinion have been shifting toward the idea that the Revolution, represented by the rebel army (FSA) and the political opposition (Syrian National Council & Syrian National Coalition), is responsible for stirring sectarian strife and fuelling the civil war in Syria through encouraging and welcoming extremist Islamic groups (i.e. Jabhet AlNusra) to join the battle in the country. While the fact remains that since the first day of the revolution, the Syrian regime has used every simple and complicated way to stir a sectarian war in the country then claim to be Syria’s only saviour, it essential to pinpoint that the regime is still using the card of sectarianism to win its battles, with the support of Iran, and now the Syrian Resistance from Turkey.
It’s crucial to distinguish between what the opposition is doing (merely defending people from the regime and managing liberated areas) and what the regime forces and thugs are doing. The video above represents premeditated and deliberate plans to systematically annihilate a whole city from existence. The pictures emerging from Banays (posted by activist Ahmad Abul Khier) clearly show that the victims of those massacres were mostly children, women, and very few young men, all civilians of the Sunni sect. The Syrian regime sends a message through the massacre, very similar to messages sent through every previous massacre. The message is to urge families, friends, and every other Syrian to retaliate and attack other villages. If the desired response happens (and it still hasn’t – and I pray it doesn’t), that’s it; it’s what Assad has falsely been telling the International Community all along, and he’ll have their support to beat those ‘terrorists’. If no retaliation takes place, the regime continues it’s systematic cycle of death, with everyone else turning a blind eye, on a global scale, to the Syrian people’s misery.
Columnist Hassan Hassan mentioned in his article that the name of the commander in the video is Mihraç Ural, also known as Al-Kayyal. He is “an Alawite Arab from Turkey’s Hatay province who leads groups of Alawite militias in the coastal region”.