Syria's Opposition Disappointed by Delay in US Military Intervention

Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 05:22 PM

By Cathy Burke

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President Obama's decision to delay military action against Syria until he takes his case to Congress was met with anger and disappointment among the opposition to President Bashar Assad.

“Assad has been given the green light by the international community,” Abu Qatada of the Damascus Military Council, speaking from a rebel-held area west of the capital, told The Washington Post.

“The message he got from the international community is that he can kill his people with conventional means, just not with chemical weapons.”

The Post reported residents in Damascus had been stocking up on food supplies from bakeries and groceries in anticipation of U.S. strikes — and after Obama's speech, they were worried about the consequences.

“I feel betrayed,” one 24-year old woman who only wanted to be identified by her first name, Sarah, told the Post in a telephone interview. “Assad comes out of this mess victorious. He is winning so far; and his confidence in himself and his regime will grow."

The Post also quoted an analyst on a live talk show, Salim Harba, saying if the U.S. gambled with a military strike, it would be the “biggest strategic mistake they made in their history," arguing Russia would increase its support for President Bashar Assad's government and force the U.S. to “tactically retract” or go ahead and “strategically fail."

Phoning in from Beirut, another commentator, Kamel Wazni, described the U.S. as “addicted to wars.”

“This is not a war on Syria. It's a war on the region,” he said. “The friends of Syria will not give up on Syria.”

On Friday, Syrian filmmaker Humam Husari told Al Jazeera that Syrians were conflicted.

"They have been under this killing machine for two-and-a-half years now, so any talk about what might end this war makes them very happy," he told Al Jazeera's "America Tonight" via Skype. "But all talk about this American strike is that it is to punish the regime, not to topple the regime. This is a disappointment for them."

But they are also worried about being caught in the crossfire. "One man told me yesterday that it’s a war between Russia and America," Husari said. "Just on our soil."

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