Fierce clashes have intensified between the Syrian Army and armed groups and insurgents have suffered heavy losses.
On Friday, Syrian troops attacked insurgent positions across the country, killing a number of armed men in the suburbs of the cities of Aleppo and Lattakia.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals, mostly from Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Issa al-Chaer, Syrian Social Club, from London, to further discuss the issue.
The video offers the opinions of two additional guests: Hisham Jaber, retired army general, from Beirut, and Sheikh Omar Bakri, a Salafist activist from Tripoli. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
We just heard an overview of the political makeup along with the makeup of the general population there in Tripoli. Of course, given how volatile the situation may be, tell us how countries like the United States, perhaps, and Saudi Arabia or other countries that perhaps you can name are going to inflame this tension and, of course, what their gain is going to be from that.
The plot is long going, actually. It goes back for years. It started after the Iraq War, if I could take you back there.
After the Iraq war, we started getting certain jihadists filtering into Iraq. The Western community and international community stayed quiet about the crimes those jihadists or extremists, I should say, were committing in Iraq.
What happened after the Iraq war, the West encouraged having two blocs: a bloc led by Iran and a bloc that’s led by Saudi Arabia and recently now Qatar. The West has actually put fuel on these groups and tried to agitate the situation.
After the opportunity of the Arab Spring, the West had seen there an opportunity for the re-initiation of what they started back in the past when they drew the Sikes-Picot agreement. It’s to redraw the map of the region -- redraw the map of the region based on ethnicity, redraw the map of the region based on sectarianism.
Divide and you will rule.
This would come into the hands of the Israelis’ intentions. It would make life easier for the Israelis to spread farther in the region if they implement this.
There’s a camp that says perhaps people in Syria and the government there, and this is again a hypothetical assumption, wouldn’t love anything more than for there to be a distraction perhaps of what is happening in Lebanon.
But that’s not the case, really. The FSA has even been cited for its general to have come into Tripoli in order to establish that launching pad if it hasn’t already been established already.
That puts into question what our guest in Beirut, Hisham Jaber, also mentioned, that does there need to be a decision made by the army to coordinate itself, get into this area and clear it out of any opposition in terms of the FSA, at least, so that Tripoli is going to be spared by being used as a launching pad?
I think so. It’s a war on Syria from three borders. You’ve got something that’s happening on the Turkish border. You’ve got something that’s happening on the Jordanian border. And you’ve got something happening on the Lebanese border.
The escalation on the Lebanese border is very, very dangerous because what happens in there is already an arsenal of weapons in Lebanon that has been waiting to be transported to Syria. Some of it has filtered into Syria back in January and November last year, has managed to actually be filtered into Syria.
However, there is a lot more arsenal that could come through Lebanon, and the escalation that could happen in the whole region will fall into chaos and will actually then be in the hands of the Western and colonial governments.
It will play a part in dividing the region. It will play a part in securing prosperity for the Israelis that they have dreamt about for the last 40 years, and perhaps potential expansion for the Israelis into territories in Syria and Lebanon, further as well as breaking the whole infrastructure in Syria.
It is very, very, very important now for the army in Syria, in Lebanon and as well as that in Jordan to stand together and to try and prevent this infiltration of arms, this movement of militancy from those countries into Syria. Because, what we’ll see at a later stage is an escalation of violence into the whole region.
I agree with Hisham Jaber, it will spread all the way even to Iraq and it might even reach Turkey. This is very, very dangerous situation.
If I may say something, just to comment on what Sheikh Bakri has said. The United States and colonial powers do not have the interests of the Syrian people in hand. All they’re interested in is the security of Israel.
We have to look at this as Syrians, as Arab nationals of people living in the regions. We have lived in peace.
As secular counties, Lebanon and Syria, we have interrelationships as sects, as religions. We have to preserve this secularism.
Yes, religion, you could practice your religions, and religion drives people to be peaceful; not to use religion as a platform for violence against each other. This is what we have to watch for and this is what we have to preserve not just for ourselves but for the future generations of the region.