September 22, 2015
Der Standard interviews Yazbek: “If the big countries decide to end the bloodshed, there will be a solution”

Der Standard interviews Yazbek: “If the big countries decide to end the bloodshed, there will be a solution”

This interview was conducted by Ruth René for Der Standard, and published on September 13th, 2015. Below are translated excerpts.

STANDARD: Ms. Yazbek, in your book you despair at the fact that no one wants to know what is happening in Syria. Has the world abandoned Syria?

 Yazbek: The world knows what is happening in Syria. All documents and evidence of the war crimes of the Assad regime were submitted to the United Nations, even before the advent of ISIS and similar groups. But the powerful countries, including the United States, ignored all the massacres perpetrated by Assad onto his people. Later, they declared that terrorism, represented by ISIS was a danger to the civilised world. They announced that they would fight ISIS. This is hypocrisy! I am not a supporter of conspiracy theories, but the policies of the rich countries towards the poor, is what caused the creation of these intolerant Islamist movements.

STANDARD: Is it the case that the non intervention of the West in Syria – especially after Assad had used chemical weapons against the people – is a decisive factor in the strengthening of ISIS?

Yazbek: Yes, the inaction of the large countries allowed ISIS to spread into Syria, bringing half the country under its power and conquer two-thirds of Iraq. This is also the reason why the Syrian people has lost its faith in the world. For years it was left alone under daily unprecedented violence. The United States are not interested in the situation of human rights in Syria (…)

STANDARD: How do you explain the enormous outbreak of violence, after 2013, so after your last clandestine stay in Syria?

Yazbek: The reason is that the world is watching the daily violence of the Assad regime idly. As before, Syrian cities are exposed to the bombings with chemical weapons from Assad aircraft. Then there also are the extremist fighters who turned the country into a bloody battlefield. Violence produces violence. This will increase as long as no change in the situation occurs.

STANDARD: The Stolen Revolution is the [German] title of your book. How was this theft possible? Didn’t the revolution have enough support among the population?

Yazbek: This theft was carried out in multiple stages. Initially, the protests against the Assad regime were peaceful.Nevertheless, the protesters were arrested by the secret service, tortured and even killed.Army and intelligence services were used.To be able to defend themselves, the protesters began to take arms and to create the Free Syrian Army.The truth is that they did not receive support.The international community ignored the event.Instead, the jihadists streamed through the open borders with Turkey into the country. From that moment on, the revolution fell: it lost sight of its original goal. (…)

STANDARD: According to Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi, the new UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura threatens to resign. Is it impossible to find a solution that brings peace and freedom to Syria?

Yazbek: If the big countries decide to end the bloodshed, there will be a solution. If you see more violence, but still do not care about war crimes, there can be no solution. What is happening in Syria is a failure of world conscience.

STANDARD: How would a political solution for Syria look like?

Yazbek: Assad would be made ​​to withdraw. To end the violence, its cause must be eliminated. These lie in the Assad regime. Then we’ll have to deal with the consequences of Assad’s regime, ISIS, the jihadists, and other extremists. Only after that can we think about how to rebuild the destroyed Syrian society. Perhaps there is this chance: Through development measures, training and the introduction of the rule of law, we could do it (…)

STANDARD: About Turkey, we say that they take most of the Syrian refugees….

Yazbek: Turkey received a lot of money. Between the Turkish and Syrian border towns a lucrative trade took place. The situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey is better than in other countries. But what will happen if the number of refugees increases to millions and the European countries are no longer able to help them? (…) I very much hope that the Europeans will accept the Syrian refugees. This situation is a consequence of the failure of their governments. The fate of the Syrian refugees, their drowning in the sea, and all the dangers and humiliations they face, are a disaster. The is only surpassed by the disaster that goes on inside Syria.

STANDARD: Do you have any hope of seeing your country again?

Yazbek: Yes, this hope I have, and for that I live.