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What has been taking place in Syria for the past 22 months looks and feels like a horrifying nightmare. Syrians killing Syrians, outsiders killing Syrians, foreign governments sending weapons and soldiers of fortune groups to kill Syrians and to destroy Syria, or what is left of Syria.

More than 60,000 killed, more than 200,000 injured (many will not survive) and more than 2.5 million internally displaced from their homes or in refugee camps in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

The outsiders hijacked the Syrian revolution that was seeking peaceful reform in a united Syria and a united Syrian people in their struggle for peace, liberty, justice, freedom and, yes, the punishment of the corrupt officials of all sects. It was a noble, peaceful people’s revolution that was started by noble people seeking change to freedom and reform to democracy. The uprising objectives were not the change of the government, or the destruction of the country, and definitely not the starting of a civil sectarian war.

The situation in Syria now is at a stalemate between the regime’s forces and that of the opposition groups. It will continue to be at a stalemate for a long time to come. The Syrian revolution is not a Syrian revolution anymore; it is now an outsiders’ invasion of Syria. Those outsiders are armed, trained and financed by foreign powers; they stole the Syrian revolution.

We, the people who care about Syria and the Syrians, believe that the Assad regime has created a great deal of hatred and bitterness among many sects over the years. Everyone should be worried about the bloodshed that will come not only in the process of regime change, if it happens, but also about the days that follow, if the Islamists and the outsiders win.

Syria needs a few years of a peaceful, democratic transition under President Bashar Al Assad with reduced powers, in order to achieve reconciliation through some sort of truth commission like in South Africa, in order to hopefully be able to calm down the public and try to avoid a very likely bloodbath that would last for years to come. For this reason, Syria needs a peaceful, international presence to help it in this transition.

The international community should offer such a proposal to President Bashar. Either he will accept it, which I think that he will, if he is making all the decisions, or he will be forced by his advisers to reject it if they are making all the decisions.



Ibrahim Soliman, St. Inigoes

The writer is director of the Syria/Israel peace project at the nonprofit Institute for Middle East Peace and Development.