My experience in the Syrian revolution: Kafriya and al-Faou’a and the Idlib Countryside (personal testimony)

In his book My experience in the Syrian revolution: Kafriya and al-Faou'a…and the countryside of Idlib, recently published by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (144 pages with an index), author Dr. Khatib Badlah, says that it didn't occur to him to write about his experience in the Syrian revolution for a number of reasons. Since the revolution was still underway: "we who took part in the revolution did not know how it will end; since most of the people I will need to mention are still alive, my writing could cause them unnecessary problems exposing them to risks; and lastly but most importantly, discussion of the towns of Kafriya and al-Faou'a is an extremely sensitive matter, inhabited as they are by Syrian citizens of the Jaafari Shia sect, in the midst of an area that is predominantly inhabited by Sunni Muslims…"

Nevertheless, as he felt that "trying to delay the treatment of the disease that afflicts us" is ill-advised, he decided to tell his story. "At the beginning of the revolution, I was closely affiliated with the popular coordination committees of the city of Idlib, and enjoyed credibility among the young revolutionaries. I, at age 59, had participated in most of their demonstrations against the Assad regime – including those that were met with tear gas and gun fire – in addition to my being a writer known to figure among the opponents of the regime." This proximity to the coordination committees put him in the forward ranks of the "revolutionaries" at first, but it became more and more difficult for him to continue, especially when he felt the need to stand up to the Islamization of the Syrian revolution or to protest tactics of kidnapping, abduction, and hostage taking. Whether natives of Idlib or newcomers, those who had an agenda of Islamization with a pretext of supporting the "the followers of ahl al-sunna and al-jama'ah", saw in him a dissident who broke off his relationship with the Baath party officials and the regime in Idlib. Although at first Badlah made use of his relations and his high standing in the hearts of many influential people to save "those who had fallen into the snares of the new warlords or had been abducted by people in quest of revenge, and not revolution."

In this book Badlah highlights the mistakes made by revolutionaries who "drowned in sectarian division, particularly in Kafriya and al-Faou'a, where Shiites are besieged by Sunnis, while on the coast Sunnis are besieged by Shiites and Alawites." Notwithstanding this, Badlah does not feel prepared to allow himself "any kind of sympathy for the regime of the son of Hafez al-Assad, who I think should fall, in any case."

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