What is the solution to the crisis in Syria? This is the question that is repeated daily by politicians, analysts and ordinary citizens. Even though there is no clear answer, Abdul Aziz al-Kheir, the head of the National Coordination Committee’s public-affairs office, said that it consists of returning “peacefulness to the Syrian revolution” while preserving the opposition’s right to defend itself. According to him, a regional and international consensus, as was manifested in the last Geneva agreement, is also required.
In response to the question of how to topple the Syrian regime without further militarization, Kheir explained that Syria’s armed opposition is divided into three categories. The first group is the Free Syrian Army, whose mission is to protect the civilians. This army cannot bring the regime down. They cannot protect themselves, much less the people. The second category is comprised of some groups without a unified command. They represent the thousands of civilians who took up arms to defend themselves. The ideologically-oriented armed groups fall in the third category; they have their own political leadership and refuse to obey the commands of defected officers.
In the Syrian Days event at the Sunflower Theater in Beirut, Kheir explained that Syrians made serious attempts to maintain the peaceful character of their revolution. However, when their privacy was violated and blood was shed, they resorted to using weapons to protect themselves. The regime escalated the level of violence and used heavy weapons of its own. This situation pushed certain regional and foreign parties to pursue their own interests, impacting the Syrian government’s regional alliances and its political stance.
Kheir stressed that it will be impossible to defeat the regime through military means, adding that the peaceful option is the best one, and that it does not deny the right of self-defense.
In an interview with As-Safir, Kheir added that unified Arab, regional and international political pressure can force the regime to abdicate. This is especially true if Russia and the United States sit at the same table. He indicated that the regime is no longer strong as they are suffering from internal shake-ups and undeclared conflicts. Chief among these is the recent defection of General Manaf Tlass.
He also said that accusing Hezbollah and Iran of being militarily involved in Syria is a media ploy that began in the early days of the revolution. According to Kheir, the Syrian army has more than enough soldiers and doesn’t need any help.
Reassuring some segments of Lebanese society, he said that Syria would maintain its traditional positions on the Palestinian issue, the Zionist entity and Arabism.