FSA's chief of Staff Ahmed Berri warns that around 5 million civilians in Idlib would face the same fate of Aleppans, as the regime together with Iran, with unabashed sectarian bigotry, intends to eradicate civilians
Ersin Çelik19 DECEMBER 2016, 11:29Yeni Şafak
The Free Syrian Army's (FSA) chief of staff Ahmed Berri described the situation of Aleppo as a tragedy, not an evacuation in an interview with Yeni Şafak about Iran's sinister strategy behind breaking the evacuation deal a couple of times.
Berri warned of probable abuses of the agreement, saying that Iran's intention from the beginning has been to kill or displace civilians in Aleppo.
He also argued that the evacuation process stalled due to the direct Iranian involvement.
'Iran is the chief actor responsible for the massacre'
“Iran is collaborating with Iraq, and the U.S. is operating in coordination with Russia in Syria. America and Russia are the main actors of the big game, and Iran is the third one. They have divided lands of Syria into spheres of influence for each, through dirty bargaining," he evaluated the current picture in the region.
Stressing that Iran has a sinister aim in its intervention in the Iraqi and Syrian civil war, he stated, “Iran has become the chief actor in killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, using the denominational bigotry for the sake of its interests. The reason why they stipulate new conditions to the evacuation deal is to trap civilians and buy more time in order to kill more and more people. For that reason they interrupted the process three times, even though they signed the reconciliation agreement."
The only resort is to unite
For Berri, the international powers' inconsistent intervention only leads to more bullets, more destruction and more tears, and he argued the only way to overcome it is by unifying all dissidents:
“The Aleppan disease has shown us clearly that we have no other option than to unite. The external powers have their bloody hands in the protraction of instability and war in Syria and the fall of Aleppo. Whenever we try to set things right, they divide us into pieces."
“Turkey helped us so much for our unification to balance the situation. But given the multinational intervention and complex web of relations, it was not efficient enough," Berri added.
He argued that thousands of experienced troops are living in refugee camps. Therefore, the opposition's aim is to take them to the frontline under a single command to establish a standing army. It would be the most important step in halting Assad's march towards opposition-held areas.
'Using anti-aircraft weapons is a must in our fight'
“Dissidents have not been given any anti-aircraft guns for 6 years, due to the U.S. objection. Thus, regime's helicopters and outdated air fighters destroyed almost all regions, particularly Aleppo, Hama, Damascus' countryside, Idlib and Latakia. If the international society overcomes the deadlock and deliver us anti-aircrafts, we would break the regime's superiority in the air. Then FSA would progress again and we could regain the lands we lost over the last 6 months," he stated.
'You deserved to die!'
Highlighting that the terrorists who attacked an evacuation convoy and killed 14 people were directed by Iranian general Sayyed Javad, Berri explained, “He massacred civilians by intervening directly. Iran put plainclothed militias forward for the provocation. Everyone heard Iranian general's outburst on that day. He told the civilians, 'You deserved to die. You had been staying in Aleppo for five years. Don't leave and die with the terrorists you were supporting in Aleppo.'"
He stressed that using anti-aircraft weapons is a must in defending 5 million people, considering the regime's next target is Idlib following Aleppo:
“The Aleppan disease caused a great collapse of morale in the frontline. But we have to overcome this. More importantly, the regime is preparing another campaign for Idlib, which is the last shelter for civilians escaping the war. They will attack from 4 different sides, including Afrin, controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) terror group in the north. Around 5 million civilians, living in and around this province, are under threat and would face the same fate with Aleppans."
Unification has been completed
Following the Aleppan disease, the unification attempts on the opposition's side has become more concrete. In this context, dissidents founded an umbrella organization, called the Islamic Committee of Syria, after 5-day-long talks with the participation of 14 groups.