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Reading into the Douma market massacre

The horrific Douma market massacre was neither the first nor will it be the last massacre. It is an episode in the long four-part series that has been filled with daily scenes and episodes of the murder witnessed and experienced by the Syrian people since they decided to rid themselves of the Assad regime in every sense.

What happened in Douma was a heinous massacre committed against unarmed civilians. This is a true expression of the brutality of those fighting the Syrians; the barbarians of this era and assassins imported from all over the world.

The Douma market massacre is the inevitable result of the failure of the international community to support the freedom of the Syrian people and is a natural product of talking about the inevitability of a “consensual” political solution that grants the head of the Syrian regime immunity against any legal prosecution.

When the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is a supporter of President Bashar Al-Assad, makes a statement hours after the Douma massacre shamelessly saying: “We support the legitimate president of the Syrian Republic,” the result is more massacres awaiting Syrian cities.

We must see the Douma massacre in context and with its effects on the details of the Syrians’ everyday lives. The heinous massacre was committed on the back of the collapse of negotiations between the Iranian occupation of Syria and the rebel faction Ahrar Al-Sham, which was mandated by the people of Al-Zabadani to speak on behalf of the area. On the other hand, groups from Jaysh Al-Islam, based in Douma, engaged in battles in the towns of Kafria and Fouah under regime control, located on the outskirts of Idlib in the north.

Assad’s regime and all of the Iranian militia groups were unable to raid Al-Zabadani. The rebel forces cut the water supply from Al-Fijah spring located in Wadi Barada to Damascus. This is considered the capital’s main water source. The supply was cut in order to pressure Assad’s regime and Iran, who is controlling and managing the details of the combat operations in Al-Zabadani and other rebel areas, to lift the siege imposed on Al-Zabadani or at least stop their attacks on the area.

It is worth noting that Assad’s regime received six Russian MiG-13 planes which act as interceptor planes. It also received a number of Kornet-5 advanced missiles and 130mm field artillery as part of an agreement between Russia and Syria.

It seems clear that the massacre was not random, but planned, and is a practical response to Iran’s failure in Al-Zabadani.

During the new United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien’s visit to Damascus, Al-Assad’s planes committed a horrific massacre that claimed the lives of 110 people; humans with fathers, mothers and children. The massacre was committed in a crowded market where the victims were looking for something to quench the thirst and hunger of their children, while the children had tried in vain to help their families get through the difficult life imposed on them by Assad’s regime. This difficult life was caused by the unjust blockade and the deadly explosive barrels that do not distinguish between the young and the old.

Assad’s regime committed its crime in light of complete international silence. This has become the case when talking about Al-Assad’s massacres against Syria’s land and people.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, the Syrian Minister of Information Omran Al-Zoubi condemned the terrorist groups and the countries supporting them, and praised the steadfastness of his brave army in the face of the cosmic conspiracy against his government. Al-Zoubi said: “Any political path that harms the Syrian people, their choices, the Syrian government and its officials is a failed option that has no place in Syria.” He added that Al-Assad will remain the Syrian president unless the Syrians decide otherwise.

We can say that the Douma market massacre and Al-Zoubi’s statement in Tehran are messages to the international community and the local community that Assad’s regime will not step down regardless of the cost. It is also a message that pressuring the regime, rejecting its proposals, or presenting proposals that include the elimination of the regime will inevitably result in more incidents like the Douma market massacre.

In fact, it is a message to every person that believes in the inevitability of a political solution to the events in Syria; it is a slap in the face. The red blood against the black ground in the market makes us lose a little more hope in talking about a political solution in Syria.

How can anyone imagine that the people of Douma, or the people of any other city or town in Syria, will co-exist with the person who killed them, displaced them and did to them what no other invader in history had done?

The shameful and ironic part of this is that the commander of Jaysh Al-Islam is exploiting this massacre by using it to prove that Zahran Alloush’s approach is the right approach. This approach includes refusing to engage in any battle with the regime in the heart of Damascus, which other opposition forces consider to be Alloush’s failure to provide support to the other nearby fronts in eastern Qalamoun.

Alloush and his sheikhs are seen to have let down most of Damascus’s rural areas during the revolution’s four years.

If every result needs to have preceding incidents, we could say that the fall of most of Qalamoun’s areas before the eyes and ears of Alloush and his army, Jaysh Al-Islam, and their refusal to provide any type of support despite the various calls on him to do so, led to the inevitable result of the situation in Douma reaching what it is today. This situation includes besiegement and destruction after all of its areas fell into the hands of Iran’s militia. Douma remained hanging in the air as a result of Alloush and his wise sheikhs’ policy. They insisted – and continue to insist – not to engage in any battles or open any fronts in the depths of Damascus to avoid its destruction, as they claim. By doing so, they have cursed Douma and the Syrian people with the woes of destruction and division and opened the doors wide open to those spreading treachery and incitement.

Today, everyone is asking one question: Does Douma need an uprising similar to that of Idlib against Jamal Maarouf, leader of the Syria Revolutionaries Front. This uprising opened the door to strategic victories and has become an example of revolutionary achievements.

In this I am not referring to Alloush personally, but in his capacity as commander of Jaysh Al-Islam and their military strength. Their only concern has become pleasing America, even if that means giving up their own banner and raising the flag of the Syrian revolution, and marketing itself as the most moderate and organised Islamic faction and the most capable of replacing Al-Assad in the event that his regime falls.

Translated from Al-Khaleej on 19 August 2015.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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