As Syrian revolution almost growing one year old, we hear more and more media talking about the alleged role that armed opposition -namely the Free Syrian Army (FSA) – would play -or not play- in fueling the revolt. Other media like to speculate whether the Syrian National Council (SNC)`s political role would be decreasing as a consequence of the rise of an armed opposition.
The emphasis on both the FSA and SNC -whether over or under estimating their role on the ground- is simply misleading.
And I`m glad I`ve found two good articles that explain why, and they come from two good sources. One was posted on Syria Comment –Joshua Landis` blog and forum specialized on Syrian issues- last 12 February. It`s published under the nickname of Idaf who allegedly left Syria recently after working with activists on the ground. Judging from his/her writing, I do believe he/she is a reliable source as he/she describes in a pretty accurate way the situation on the ground, putting an emphasis on the fact that there is real, ongoing revolution storming Syrian society and it`s happening elsewhere rather than in SNC and FSA. Certainly not in Paris, where the SNC has its head; nor in Turkey, where the FSA`s headquarters are based. But on the ground, in Damascus, Idlib, Daraa, Homs, Kafer Nbel, etc etc.
Reading this article together with the recently published Al Jazeera English`s interview with Nir Rosen -a journalist who has been covering crisis and conflicts in places like Iraq, and had the privilege to have access to Syria for a couple of months- will be a very useful exercise. Rosen sheds light on the fact that there is no such a thing as the FSA on the ground: rather, there are hundreds of small resistance cells, each of them fighting the regime with their own means and ideology, but loosely interconnected and without a central leadership. A decentralized network of people sometimes connected one to each other, but in a loose way –certainly not through a central command or authority which gives them the legitimacy to operate- .
This description given by Rosen really resembles the way the activists are acting on the ground: small, decentralized groups loosely interconnected. Most of the time, they dont need to be connected or to be aware of what the other group is doing. They prefer to operate in secrecy, in small numbers, without sharing the information with too many others or revealing their activities in public in order not to be prosecuted -but especially to be able to continue doing their daily work-.
This daily work has been ongoing for months. It is silent and doesnt get reported on media cause there is “nothing” to report, at least in the fast-food of information that media have become nowadays. There are no killings, there is no “action” in media terms, and these people prefer to work instead of releasing TV interviews, press statements, or twitting about what they do. Indeed, there are bravely doing their work on a daily basis, risking their life trying to build a better Syria.
Let the SNC, FSA (and Internet activists) do the media work. But, at the end of the day, it`s on these smaller, locally-grounded leaderless groups that the Syria revolution is grounded, both militarily and activism-wise.