When watching the pictures from Syria, we ask "Who are these people? Is this what they call the Free Syrian Army?" The other day I saw a video on the Internet. I hope you haven't seen it. This incident takes place in Syria. The opposition militants capture a post office. They threw post office civil servants' bodies from the sixth floor of a building. People surrounding the building cheered and chanted in favor of them. I have seen lots of wars, but I haven't seen anything like this. Yes, here I am talking about postal workers, not even military officials, being targeted. I couldn't help asking myself whether we are being exposed to a severe disinformation campaign after watching this video.
To be thorough and confirm these events, I asked Turkey's top war correspondent, Sebati Karakurt, whether they could be true. Karakurt had spent five days in Aleppo and reported for Hurriyet. I met Karakurt while we were following the Israel-Hezbollah war in Beirut. We came across each other in war zones frequently. We were together in Baghdad when the Iraq War was going on.
When I called him, he had just crossed the Syrian border and was on his way back from Gaziantep to Istanbul. I mentioned this video to him and asked whether it could be real. He said it was possible: “I didn't see it myself, yet I met lots of people in person who said they would do what you have seen in this video.”
My second question for him was “Who are these people, then? Is this what they call the Free Syrian Army?”
Sebati's answer, which was drawn upon his personal observations, was interesting: “Yes, this is the case. There are devoted Turkmen fighters among them. There are rockers, drug users. There are those who have never achieved anything in their lives, those who stayed in prison for 8 years, who later became fighters. In short, the FSA has all sorts of psychopaths, criminals, radical Islamists, looters and those who dream of a free country after the regime collapses or say they will slaughter the first Alawite they happen to meet.
Generally what we understand the Free Syrian Army is comprised of is distinguished intellectuals that gather in five star hotels in Istanbul or Paris. However this is what actually happens in the ground."
Sebati Karakurt reports from the ground in Aleppo, where the heart of the Free Syrian Army is.
Maybe the Syrian regime and Assad will be overthrown one day, however it is still uncertain what awaits Syria after the fall of the regime.
What struck me most regarding Sebati's statements were the stories he told me that show there is no going back from this war.
Sunni groups that stood no chance against the Alawites in state institutions are so far in the forefront of this battle. They fight for survival. It seems that in the near future this struggle will not be limited to a war against Assad but will be a challenge to the Syrian state itself.
I am not sure whether the above-mentioned video is real or if it is the first signal of a fight against the state itself. However I am sure about one thing: Some people in Turkey don't want to hear these truths.