Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the withdrawal of Syrian forces from all cities is just a lie and that the Syrian regime is pretending to withdraw while it resumes killing the people on a daily basis.
This is the most important part. No matter how the International Community speaks about the protection of civilians, a superficial withdrawal does not in any way protect the Syrian people from President Bashar al-Assad’s killing machine which has manifested itself as the most brutal as has seen by the entire world.
The Security Council approved a resolution that sets April 10 as the deadline for the Syrian regime to stop the violence and implement Kofi Annan’s plan of pulling out the army from Syrian cities and residential areas and halting the use of heavy artillery.
The resolution also called upon the feebly-armed opposition to stop the violence 48 hours after the regime does its part of the deal in what the council termed a peaceful settlement of the crisis.
Yet this attempt at resolving the crisis peacefully is not expected to work. In fact, it is already failing. When armored vehicles loaded with army forces invade cities then some of them pull out of a few neighborhoods while a large number of officers and snipers are left behind, this is not withdrawal especially that the killing does not stop and rather continues in the most flagrant manner.
But what will happen if real withdrawal takes place?
If the Syrian army withdraws, the Syrian Free Army will simply find no one to fight and its members will remain in their trenches or stay at home. They might lay their arms aside and start taking part in peaceful protests that will pick up again.
This will provide a good context for humanitarian and medical aid to reach Syria. At that moment, the world will see the tragedy that has befallen Syrian men, women, and children at the hands of the regime.
The return of peaceful protests will reveal the truth. The world has only seen 20 percent of this tragedy and not seeing the rest of it will be the excuse the regime will use to abort the U.N. plan and to fabricate all kinds of actions that will justify its violence. This could be seen in the request Syrian ambassador to the U.N. Bashar al-Jaafari submitted and in which he called upon the opposition not to take advantage of the withdrawal of Syrian forces to seize the areas from which they withdraw.
This means we’re back to the old way and which is the regime’s favorite: crushing peaceful protests through killing and terror. This means going back to square one in an even brutal manner. The Syrian revolution is entering its second year and nothing is being done. After April 10 and probably a bit after that, the world might find out when it’s too late that nothing will work with Assad’s regime, which has already lost its legitimacy, except fierce confrontation, for this is the only language it understands.
The writer is Head of Media at Al Arabiya. This article was first published in al-Jazirah on April 8, 2012 and translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid