Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Opinion | Dear Ukrainians: Assad, not Syrian, mercenaries

Dear Ukrainian friends, wherever you are:

I know you’re now busy facing the horrible circumstances of an unjust military aggression and I don’t know if this message will reach you, but still I feel it as my duty, as a friend of free Syrians, to make an important distinction.

In the last few days, the news has spread that a few thousand Syrians are coming to fight in Ukraine in support of the Russian army. It is important for you to know that these mercenaries are being sent by Bashar Assad also as a compensation for what Russia has done in Syria to keep the agonizing Syrian regime alive. They are not the same Syrians who have been showing you love and support since the beginning of the Russian invasion and who, instead, oppose both Assad and Russia. They are the Free Syrians. They’re mostly in Northern Syria (a part of the country that is not under the control of the Assad regime) and all over the world. They are those who have paid a high price for demanding the fall of the Syrian regime and the creation of a new, free country. They identify with a flag has green and three red stars in it.

I know Ukrainians have had their own deal of suffering in the last 8 years and some of you might not be too familiar with what happened in Syria, besides what has been shown in official news. Eleven years ago, many Syrians went on the street to peacefully protest against a murderous regime that had been oppressing them for decades. Their demands were met with unconceivable violence that eventually led to war.

In order to stay in power, Bashar Assad has turned entire cities to dust, killed hundreds of thousands and caused millions to be displaced. He did this with the help of his friends, mainly Iran and Russia which, since 2015, has been slaughtering Syrians. In Syria, Russia has bombed schools, hospitals, infrastructure, just like in Ukraine. Russians have tested over 320 weapons on Syrians. If Putin can now destroy Ukraine, it is also because nobody stopped him when he was doing the same in Syria.

The mercenaries now coming to Europe are murderers that for years have been torturing, raping and killing all those who dared pronounce the word “freedom.” I tell you this so that you might learn to distinguish, if necessary, and not immediately see an enemy in any Syrian you meet. I tell you so that hatred isn’t created between people who are suffering at the hands of the same killers.

Finally, dear Ukrainian friends, I pray this war will stop soon and I wish the Ukrainian resistance to be victorious over the Russian invaders and aggressors.

Free Syria and glory to Ukraine.

Francesca Scalinci
Francesca Scalinci
Francesca Scalinci holds a degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures, and a PhD in Anglo-American Studies and New Literatures in English from the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice. Since 2013 she has been following Syrian events. Many of her poems bear the echo of her great love for Syria and Syrians.

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