Free Syrian Army Controls Sixty Percent of Homs

Reports out of the Syrian city indicate that the Free Syrian Army has established an organized and effective leadership within the old city. Ali Milhim writes that the FSA must be seen as a complementary force to the peaceful protest movement.

al-monitor Members of the Free Syrian Army take part in a military exercise inside a damaged and abandoned building in Khalidiya area in Homs 18/05/2012. Photo by REUTERS.

Topics covered

syrian revolution, syrian crisis, syrian, peaceful movement, free syrian army

Jun 2, 2012

According to the latest information out of the city of Homs, the Free Syrian Army has taken control of nearly 60 percent of the city. Meanwhile, the areas under the control of the Syrian regime have been diminished to a small strip in the southeastern part of city. Information obtained from activists inside Homs illustrates how the Free Syrian Army has managed to create a real, organized and effective leadership. It has taken up the Old City of Homs, specifically Julia Palace (which was the set of Roman rule two thousand years ago), as the headquarters for its leadership and operations management.

On another note, the peaceful civil movement is gaining ground in the heart of Damascus and in the city of Aleppo. This movement appears to be expanding, structurally speaking, both horizontally and vertically. The persistent bombings and attacks taking place raise large doubts about the involvement of the regime or its structures in their planning or promotion.

Thus, at the moment, the Syrian revolution seems to be based on a controversial complementary relationship between the armed popular resistance, key to the revolution’s survival, and a peaceful civil movement at the heart of the revolt. This complementary relationship opens the door to several opportunities in the short and long run. It also makes certain things impossible.

It is possible that the Free Syrian Army is capable, and becoming more capable by the day of threatening the integral existence of the regime. Similarly, the peaceful civil movement is becoming more and more capable of threatening the regime from a moral point of view.

It is impossible to consider the Free Syrian Army an independent entity separate from the peaceful movement. It would also be wrong to call this movement an excessive and useless luxury. On the contrary, the line between the two groups is blurred, and between most peaceful activists and FSA leaders, virtually non-existent. Many of the activists have a strong relationship with these leaders, and many of them have helped facilitate their work through the delivery of medical aid and food, and even telecommunication devices to elements of the FSA. In turn, the FSA has facilitated the continuation of these activists’ movement.

The FSA can be seen as an expression of armed popular resistance against an authoritarian family and regime that has been fueling sectarianism in the country. This family has divided up the country’s sects to gain support at home and abroad, as well as within the structures of the regime itself. The FSA might be the only force capable of putting an end to the division in the country and establishing a more civil and democratic state.

However, it is wrong to call the FSA and the revolution a muezzin for civil war that would turn Syria into a battleground for international conflict open to all.

The peaceful facet of the revolution expresses its fundamental and essential message. The revolution can only be described as unprecedented, unique and bold. Its proponents have made tremendous sacrifices and it will come to fruition, sooner or later.

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