Interview with Doctor Mohamed Nour Dachan, Italian delegate of the Syrian Coalition of Support to the Syrian Revolution
by Giovanni Sarubbi, translated by Mary Rizzo
Doctor Mohamed Nour Dachan is the Italian delegate of the Syrian Coalition of Support to the Syrian Revolution. Born in Aleppo, Syria 65 years ago, he has been living in Italy for 45 years. Doctor of Medicine and Surgery, he has various specialisations and works as a family doctor. Currently he is the President Emeritus of the Union of Islamic Communities of Italy (UCOII) of which he is among the founders, and of which he was the acting President until two years ago. Recently he participated in the meeting of the Syrian National Council with the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’Agata. The Syrian National Council has promoted a national protest in Rome to be held on the date of 19 February, which has as its slogan “Let us stop the massacre of the innocents”. He has accepted to answer our questions regarding the Syrian situation, and for this, we are grateful. In his words, one can feel the suffering of who, still very young, was forced to leave his own country, bringing him to firmly oppose the Assad government. But, and this should be stressed, it is also an appeal to not leave anything untried for a peaceful solution, without arms or war, to the Syrian crisis. It is a hypothesis on which he works intensively. Following is the text of the interview.
Giovanni Sarubbi (GS): Doctor Dachan, you have been living for many years in Italy, and you have become a member of the Syrian National Council. Can you kindly explain to us the reasons for your choice and describe what forces comprise such Council?
Dr. Mohamed Nour Dachan (MND): To become a member of the SNC is not a novelty for me, seeing that for many years I have chosen freedom and democracy and that during these years I have fought against dictatorships and injustice and for this reason, I could not hesitate to give my contribution to my country of origin.
The SNC joins together very many components of the Syrian opposition, an opposition that has a wide variety of elements, given that there has been over 40 years of dictatorship which has slowly but surely allowed the birth of one opposition group after the other. The advantage of the SNC is that it has the largest opposition groups taking part in it: religious, secular and liberal ones.
GS: What do you propose to do, what is your programme and by the means of what initiatives and instruments do you plan on realising your goals?
MND: The programme is to support the peaceful revolution of the Syrian people, to work and raise awareness to all the world’s countries so that they help us to obtain the fall of the Syrian regime.
GS: What relationship do you have with the Free Syrian Army?
MND: There has to be some clarification regarding the name: it is called Free Syrian Army, which means that they are soldiers, officers and non-commissioned officers who have chosen to refuse shooting at unarmed civilians and it is not an offensive army that is at war, but it has exclusively the task of defending the protests.
It is constituted of a bilateral commission which has started its collaboration between the SNC and the Free Army.
GS: The Syrian National Council has been recognised at an international level by some countries such as France and the USA. What relationships have you got with these countries? Don’t you believe that this support could harm your cause and the liberation of your people from oppression?
MND: The SNC has not yet been recognised by any country, but there have been meetings with several countries, both Arab-Islamic and not. For the time being, the only country that has expelled the Syrian Ambassador has been Tunisia, and Libya is preparing to give the SNC official local offices, in addition to other countries such as Turkey where the SNC has its actual headquarters.
GS: You have recently had a meeting with the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Italian government. What have you asked of the Italian government and what response did you receive?
MND: We have already had a meeting with the previous government’s Foreign Affairs Minister Frattini, and successively with Minister Terzi: our first requests have been to obtain support for the Syrian revolution with all possible means and to remove the support and collaboration they have with the Syrian regime. The relationship has begun very well and we hope that the collaboration is continuous and fruitful.
GS: In your communiqué you have written that: “Today everyone is pointing their finger against Russia and China, but in reality, behind their positions are hidden other diplomatic entities who are complicit in this slaughter.” Who are you referring to? From your point of view, who are the forces in play in Syria and what are the objectives they have set for themselves?”
MND: We don’t have any particular nation in mind, but in the time that has passed, eleven months with massacres each and every day – (and this is only my personal point of view) much more could have been done and perhaps much more can be done, if the positions of China and Russia had been different.
The forces in play by the regime are the army and the forces of the security services. Certainly, the Assad family and those dependent upon it have a sole objective: to continue to rule.
GS: In point 28 of the Report of the International Observers in Syria it is written: “The Mission had made note that various parties reported that there had been explosions of violence in many areas. When the observers had gone to these areas, they found that this information was unfounded.” Just as in all wars, the first victim is the truth and correct information. What can you say, from your point of observation, on what is truly going on in Syria? Do you have direct sources of information on all the things that are taking place?
MND: The mission of the Observers in Syria was dead before it had a chance to be born. There were three objectives to that mission:
1. Withdrawal of all the military vehicles from the streets, an objective that was neither applied nor taken into consideration,
2. The liberation of all the prisoners of thought who have been arrested from the beginning of the revolution to this very date: of the 150,000 person arrested, the government has liberated only a few hundred, only to arrest others from other places,
3. The number of observers was supposed to be 5,000, and instead those who had actually arrived were only 150, some of whom could not even be able to observe a high school graduation test in any high school at all!
The Syrian government, with its excuse of protecting them, first sent in the police forces and then they themselves made these very observers be accompanied by the security forces, in this way, they ensured that the people were terrified and they did not speak with anyone.
Of course, we have direct sources, and we are able to communicate with them now in every way that is possible, including those that are widespread communication instruments: Facebook, emails, cell phones and so forth.
GS: What is your point of view on the various proposals of solution to the Syrian crisis that have been set forth by different international organisations?
MND: We are favourable to any proposal at all which is peaceful but protects civilians, and most importantly, immediately stops this barbarity.
GS: There are about ninety associations, unions and parties, among them FIOM-CGIL, which have taken the position against any hypothesis of a new war in Syria, similar to what has recently been fought in Libya. From your point of view, is a pacific solution possible for the Syrian crisis, without wars or the intervention of foreign powers in your country?
MND: I thank you for this question and allow me to express an appeal, because some forces and some friends with which we have already shared in some activities and sit ins, when faced with the massacres of the Syrian people, are not evaluating the human question, but the political question, as if we were in the Cold War. The revolution started with the actions of children, and still today, each day its characteristic feature is the peaceful protesting in the street and squares. To allow a dictator to keep on assassinating his own people or to join in a war as the one in Libya? Between the two things there are actually many solutions, and for this I invite all the free and democratic men and women to take the side of the people: one simply cannot say, “we are against the war” in words, and then support the government that is using its own army against defenceless people. We ask our brothers and sisters who are against the war to join us with other solutions, but with a sole objective: to immediately put an end to the massacres.
Thus ends the interview. Obviously, whoever is against the war in Syria does not support any regime or any assassin, whoever it is committing these acts, but believes that one must to all that is necessary to find peaceful solutions to the crisis.
By Giovanni Sarubbi – Director of the site www.ildialogo.org (Italian)