For those who remember the early days of the conflict, it is hard to believe that a decade has passed since those protests unleashed an unfathomably terrible war against the Syrian civilian people by their own government.
It is a tragedy of global proportions, which we have seen unfold in real time, and the Syrians are no closer to being safe from Assad. But, unimaginably, there is still hope. For many Syrians, tomorrow (if they can only get there) is a new day.
I have asked some of the activists and advocates who have fought to save Syria and who have risked their lives to tell the stories of the Syrian war to answer an important question, in the way they want: “What is the future of Syria? ? ”
Here are his painful and hopeful answers. (Some have been translated from Arabic).
Rabbi Kasiri, white helmet volunteer and medical student at Idlib
The last ten years have affected me a lot and I no longer think about the future. The constant bombardment by Syrian and Russian warplanes forced us to live in a state of emergency and I always wonder if I will live until the next day. I may leave home and never come back or I may go to sleep and never wake up.
I fear that if we live like this for many more years, my daughter will grow up feeling the same. Six-year-old Rahaf represents my hopes and dreams. She gives me strength and happiness every day. I love medicine and dream that I will be able to finish my studies and become a doctor. I dream that our children will not live in fear, deprivation and danger like us. The war took us a long time, but we must remain strong in order to help others. I hope that peace prevails and that no more lives are lost.
Dr. Tarraf al-Tarraf, surgeon in Idlib
When I joined the protests in 2011, I dreamed of our right to freedom and dignity.
I wanted to resume my higher studies, but all my dreams came to a halt when I lost my brother, Dr. Huthaifa, who died of torture in Assad prisons; my brother, Dr. Yousef, who was killed by a Russian air strike; and many of my friends and colleagues. I also lost home and moved in with my family. I stopped dreaming when all I could do was try to save the life of a child injured by the bombing.
But it is impossible for any of these dreams to come true while Assad is still in power. I fear that the regime will continue to commit crimes – from bombings, arrests and forced displacement – and the international community will continue to remain silent and turn a blind eye to these crimes.
Nora Barre, Syrian American activist
Today, Syria is a failed state with increasing suffering, refugees and global terrorists.
The best case for Syria’s future is not full of sun and rainbow. The end of the Assad regime will be when the continued decline of the Iranian and Russian economies means that they stop financing the killing machine in Syria.
Wafa Mustafa, Syrian activist and journalist
It should also be possible for the families of those abducted by ISIS to do justice or find answers about their loved ones, to release all those detained by armed groups.
Ten years ago, so many Syrians demanded freedom, dignity and democracy. I continue to march and campaign for these same values and I will not give up hope.
Hasna Issa, a Syrian activist
Ten years since the revolution began, Assad has killed hundreds of thousands, forced millions to flee their homes, bombed schools and hospitals and burned farms. But we do not regret having called for freedom, dignity and justice, and we will continue to do so.
Being arrested by the regime for participating in the peaceful protests of ten years ago made me hold more firmly the values and goals of our revolution, because I have witnessed what happens in Assad’s dungeons with my own. eyes.
So many Syrian women are trying to build a better Syria that guarantees them their rights to freedom and dignity. We don’t want a food basket or charities, we want justice and accountability. We want to go home they forced us to flee, we want schools for our children, we want universities to give proper education, we want job opportunities to work and be independent.
Hiba Barakat, journalist and photographer at Idlib
When the revolution began in 2011, he was not fully aware of the regime’s criminality and corruption. Maybe because he was too young or because of the fear of people talking. Later, I began to see the crimes the regime was willing to commit to silence people. I was forced to run away from home more than once to escape the bombings. My brother has been missing in Assad prison for years and we know nothing of what happened to him. My father was killed by a Russian airstrike. My life turned upside down in an indescribable way.
Armed groups and militias took advantage of the honest and peaceful revolution that provoked young men and women who demanded freedom and dignity. It then became a war of representatives between many states with different agendas and policies.
I fear we will find ourselves ruled by regimes similar to the one we fought to overthrow. I fear there will no longer be a place for me in this country.
What I hope is another revolution that frees us from those who imposed themselves as rulers with the power of their weapons.
Ali Abdulkader, activist and center manager of defense group Kesh Malek
When last year we were forced to run away from home, my 8-year-old daughter Hiba came to me crying because she left her favorite toy behind. It breaks my heart every time I think about it.
I was a law student when the revolution began, but I soon started working with civil society groups because I believed that our work with young people is essential to help them shape the future of Syria that we still dream of.
The world stood still as the Assad regime and its allies committed all sorts of crimes against Syrians for the past ten years. He stood still as extremist groups, including ISIS, emerged to take advantage and tried to distort the image of our revolution. But that did not stop us from continuing to work for a free, civil, democratic and plural Syria. Even if we don’t get to live to see it, at least our children will have a chance.
My hope is that the world will realize its enormous responsibility to intensify the suffering of millions of Syrians, hold criminals accountable, and restore our faith in humanity and human rights. It is never too late to save Syria.
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