Transcript by Rawan R. Mahmasa
What’s happening today, in 2000, since 2011, until now is the same people who did this to Syria in the 1980s
Can you elaborate on that for me?
The Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s did the same thing. But besides Saudi Arabia and Qatar, it was Saddam Hussein and Saudi. They were, they did the same thing. The media played the same role. This was in the city of Hama, in Hama. The Muslim Brotherhood destroyed the factories, destroyed churches, destroyed mosques, the same what’s happening now, it’s happened in the 1980s. And the same, just what’s different is the media had a bigger role.
Right, because from the 80s till now, now we have all these satellite channels.
So we have a different media system. But it’s the same group, Muslim Brotherhood, they killed people in cold blood that they just went inside of houses before the army after this in the 1980s, before the army ever entered into the houses because they have a different in those days. Yes, it was a religious thing. It was sectarian. Yeah. Now it’s not, because now they’re killing Christians, they’re killing other Muslim sects, they’re killing everyone Everyone saying, oh, this is, and I’m sure that these terrorists have killed as many Sunnis as they’ve killed of another sects, their own people.
So what what about the infighting amongst them? Because, I mean, even though they are perhaps of the same sect, there has been infighting. Oh, yeah. They kill each other all the time. And you see, it isn’t anything about religion. See, that’s the main point. This is political because it has nothing to do with religion because, of course, if you knew Islam, you know that, that is completely prohibited.
The opposition fighting each other, militarily. That’s because there’s too many people funding them, the big countries, especially from the Gulf, Saudi and Qatar, Saudi and Qatar had to fight, the fight inside of Syria. There are one Saudi on the one hand, their friends, the ones that we can see this fight between the two sides of the opposition never started until that time to the Saudi and Qatari problem happened between two. That’s when the hell broke loose between the opposition.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia are doing the funding because they have tons of money.
They have enough money that they can just burn it, and it will never finish, but they don’t get along,
There’re Islamic views and political views, are not side, one is the Wahhabis, one is Muslim Brotherhood, and it was all this fighting. And the two sides, they are always fighting the terrorists, supports the MB right now.
When, when the when the opposition began in March 2011, what was the situation here in Latakia where there are peaceful protests? What was the public sentiment toward the uprising?
There was people of those people. They went down the street. But the way they act when you’re saying it’s the same, they say, called themselves peaceful. You do not go burn places. You do not burn shops, you don’t burn people’s cars. They went even Sheikh Daher this is something, in Latakia, just downtown, downtown Latakia, they went into a communication where you pay the bill for your cell phone and they burnt it down to the ground.
So there was violence right at the beginning…
and the Syrian security forces had orders from the Syrian president that to not use a gun, they had only sticks in their hand only. And things tens of Syrian police forces were knived stabbed and beaten by either by knives or rocks or sticks. And some of them have died, martyred.
What was the sentiment among the general population when the peaceful protests turned so violent? What did the people think of it?
So some people, some people there, minority, let’s say, of Al-Jazeera said there’s an explosion in the house, they believed the Al Jazeera and they won’t go out to their balcony. But the majority of the Latakian people they went against it, they started helping the Syrian security forces down. Just they’re going down in their neighborhoods protecting from these people. I remember
And the first the first day it was, started in Larakia, it was on a Friday.
Do you know what day it was the exactly? It was maybe the first week this crisis happened.
It was on Friday and so be the end of it. Yeah, the end of March, And people, nothern of Arraqa, they go to the Sunni areas and say that the Alawis are coming to attack you here, in the same car, they go to the Alawis area and say that the Sunnis are coming to attack.
Did you hear that yourself?
I people and people from the neighborhoods, they saw it, they heard those people, our relatives and friends, they came and told them that the Alawis are coming to attack you, and the went to them, and say that the Sunnis,
And that day and that day, if the Syrian government, Syrian government does understand the Syrian army did not interfere, it could have been a problem.
April the first of 2011 was the first day that I read a report in the online in the Los Angeles Times detailing a so-called peaceful protest in Latakia, which had turned violent. And I responded to the author of that article, found her on Facebook. And I discussed this with her because all of her details were wrong. She had lied throughout the whole report because I live here. And that day was a Friday and I had been all over the town on various chores. So I had been in every spot, shopping or visiting or doing something that she had reported on. And none of those details in her report were true.
She admitted that she lived in Beirut, had never been to Latakia, and had heard these rumors. They had been told to her by others, the others, I must assume they were opposition activists that knew where she lived in Beirut and knew she was a journalist for the Los Angeles Times. And they fed her this false information. So she published it. She then told me to contact her editor by email and that she would love to have an interview, a private interview with me to get the details.
I wrote to her editor five times, never reply. And then I replied back to her again, never reply.
What publication was that?
Los Angeles Times. At the very beginning in Latakia, the crowds would come out on a Friday after the noon prayer and this was like they have it. And so they would come out and they’d start, you know, we want freedom, we want democracy. We want bla bla bla. OK, then the police, of course, would be there around in anticipation. And at the beginning the police did have weapons. But if you fire on a policeman or a soldier, his training will be to fire back.
That’s his training. OK, so that’s what they did. They fired on the security forces, whether they be city policemen or army. They fired on them knowing that they’re going to get a reply.
And as many dead, innocent civilians protesting in the street, this is furthering their cause. This is what they want. So this happened. Then the president came out with an order nationwide saying you can, the security forces, can still go and watch the protest, but they cannot carry a weapon. And that goes out. This caused many, many deaths because they followed their orders, yes, they were knifed,
But there were people were the the the protesters slaughtered the policemen. One young policeman I know personally who died 18 years old, he was a soldier doing his national service. And he went to Sheikh Daher later that night under the new order not to carry a weapon. And they cut him actually into pieces. And so he was his body was taken back in a garbage bag, you know, in pieces back to his family to be buried.
I’m sorry, is all of this documented? I mean, for example, the presidential order not to order, oh, yes, yes, the firing of the protesters upon the policemen, is that documented?
Oh, yeah, yes, and the slaughter of this eighteen-years old, for sure. You can send me links. OK, thank you.
Latakia, has been very peaceful and stable. We had that initial problem, right. First Daraa, then it came everywhere. It came to Latakia, we had that first taste of, of violence and death and problem then right away the Latakia people, we’re mixed, and we have Christians, Muslims and minorities were very, mixed place here, even refugees, but right away they turned against it, the population here doesn’t accept it, they knew from the beginning, well, almost at the beginning, that this was just a set up of war plan, and they didn’t buy into it, so even the people who are, from the same sect as the rebels, they didn’t support it, so we have very little support in Latakia, and that’s why we’ve been peaceful up to this point.
Notes and References:
Lilly Martin and her son Steven Sahiounie have lived in Latakia, Syria for the past nearly 22 years. Both are active writers and observers of the (manufactured) crisis in Syria. Apr 2014.
Al Jazeera reporter resigns over “biased” Syria coverage