Bismillah. Better late than never. The following is a brief interview conducted on 26th Ramadan 1432 (26th August 2011) with a Syrian journalist & opposition activist, Mohammad Fizou. The questions and mobile phone number (registered in Turkey) of the interviewee were supplied by a UK-based journalist. The line was quite poor, hence the brief interview.
1. You coordinate the Syrian Army Defectors’ Facebook page. How many defectors are there in total?
We have 8,000 people on our Facebook page. There is much more information on there about our members.
2. Which city do you come from?
I am from Ladhiqiyyah (Latakia).
3. What makes the defectors choose to do so?
They defected from the army (there are over 7,000 of them) because they were ordered to fire with machine-guns at unarmed, civilian protesters.
4. Have ex-soldiers been the only ones shooting at & killing army regulars, or have protestors engaged in violence against the regime at all?
The only people killing soldiers have been the regime’s people. They killed soldiers who refused to shoot at civilians, and blamed it on the protesters in order to give the world media the impression that the regime had been attacked by the protesters.
5. Do you want a no-fly zone like in Libya, or will you and your men be able to fight against the regime yourselves?
We have about 7,000 men but the regime has many times that number, as is well-known. Therefore, we need as much support and help as possible. The Syrian regime’s aircraft have been bombing civilian protesters, so any action that will stop them will be very important.
6. There are different groups of ex-soldiers, such as the Free Officers’ Movement led by Hussain Harmoush and the Free Syrian Army led by Col. Rifal al-Assad. Is there any plan for them all to come together and form a united army against the regime?
These movements all have the same aim, and therefore they are united in purpose. They tend to be regional, i.e. composed of defectors from different parts of the country. The regime tries to make out that we are disunited, but we are not. We all have the same demands, as the protesters do: stop the killing; stop the massacres; let us have reform.
7. How credible are the Turkish Army’s threats to establish a safety zone inside Syria? Will this affect the revolution, do you think?
Turkey is a friendly country, as are its people and its army. We would welcome help from any friendly countries, such as Turkey or Britain, since they would not be invading or occupying our country. But Turkish soldiers have not entered Syria. The Syrians have fired repeatedly on Turkish troops and have even launched rockets into Turkish territory, but the Turks have not retaliated. The Turks gave the Syrians a 15-day ultimatum to stop firing on them – this expired yesterday evening (25th August 2011), but the Turks haven’t taken any action in response.
Thank you for your time & answers.