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An American in Latakia: “this was no revolution”

by Lily Martin

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As an eye witness to the entire war in Syria, from March 2011 to present, I can state this was no revolution. I am an American citizen living permanently in Syria, which is my husband’s birthplace. I have been here 24 years.

A real revolution would have the support of the people, inside Syria, not Syrian living in Paris and London for the past 40 years. To have a real grassroots uprising, you need the support of the people living inside Syria, who would share your views.

If it had been a real uprising/revolution, the whole process could have taken 3-6 months, because the Army would have followed the will of the people, given the fact the Syrian Army is made up of Syrians of all ethnic and religious sects. The Syrian Army is a true representative of the Syrian population. If the population wanted the goals stated by the ‘protesters’, which was to establish Islamic law in Syria, and to abolish the current secular government, the Army would have eventually followed along, expressing the will of the people.

However, you had a small minority in the Syrian population who were for regime change, but this very small group was backed by USA, UK, NATO, EU, and the Arab Gulf Monarchies. Money talks, as we say in America.

Yes, Syria is home to many Radical Islamic ideology followers, as is UK, USA and Europe. However, their numbers are still in the minority. In a democracy, the majority rule. The Syrian opposition does include non-Islamist political people, mainly communists and other secular thinkers, but those people have never held a gun, and have never advocated violence, destruction or armed revolution. It has been strictly the Radical Islamic ideology followers who have supported armed rebellion. Because their numbers were, and are still, so small comparing to the rest of the 20 million Syrians, they never had a chance to win, and can not win on the ground. Their ‘revolution’ has just been an attack on the unarmed civilian population who do not agree with them.

We are hoping that a peaceful negotiated settlement, with positive changes and reforms, can be made through joint talks between the UN, and both sides of the Syrian conflict. This is our chance for peace.

Finally, this morning Sept 14, 2016 on the BBC they announced a UK Members of Parliament commission, studying the role of the UK in the war in Libya, had concluded the UK role was wrong, shameful and “opportunistic, and for regime change”. Meaning, the UK under PM Cameron should not have participated in the NATO and US attack on Libya, which was not a humanitarian effort, but an ‘opportunistic attack for regime change’, as stated on BCC. This is the same story of Syria. Perhaps in 5 years time, we may watch BBC announcing a UK Parliament commission, studying the UK role in the death and destruction in Syria.

My question to myself, and all others: Why can’t we study these types of decisions BEFORE we commit to destroying lives and countries abroad? I asked this question out-loud at the breakfast table this morning, and my son who is an MBA graduate, answered back, “Mom, because UK always takes their orders from USA, regardless of the consequences”.

That view should be the focus of every UK citizen and politician, on how UK can stand alone, and make decisions in the future which benefit UK, and not follow USA blindly, down a road of regret.

Lily Martin, Latakia

Lilly Martin is an American citizen, living permanently in Syria for 24 years. She is a retired medical professional, and now a homemaker and activist-writer during the Syrian conflict. Her son is the journalist Steven Sahiounie. She lost her home to terrorists in Kessab on March 21, 2014.

24 Comments

  1. Willem says

    Thanks for sharing this story at OffG. Reminds me of another story by Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch priest who worked in Syria since 1966 and also said that the “revolution” came from outside and was not wanted by the Syrian people themselves. See (in Dutch, couldn’t find a translation) here:

    http://community.dewereldmorgen.be/blog/mario-bergen/2011/09/12/jezu-etenpater-frans-van-der-lugt-informeert-vanuit-syri

    This article was written in 2011, and in the article Van der Lugt explains that the “rebels” only existed because they were paid from outside. These rebels were freighthening because they a) had weapons, and b) had no clue how to govern a state or even a city or a village that they conquered from the government. This usually meant hunger for the people that were conquered (explained, in Arabic, Dutch subtitles at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MhQHg6ivGPg).

    Van der Lugt makes a case in the article that despite the regime of Assad isn’t perfect, Syria should opt for it’s regime. Syria needs to be led by a unified government whose main interest is infrastructure, pensions, health care, education, work, and not religion. That these things need priority and religion does not, according to a priest who is in the middle of a war situation, makes it a quite convincing statement to me.

    For an outsider (like me) it is difficult with all the propaganda that is spewed out by our friends from the media, what to make of the political meaning of Syria. Eye witness reports like Lily’s reported at OffG are very helpful in the interpretation.

    I think it is very courageous as an American (or any person from any country) to stay in a war zone despite all the dangers. Frans van der Lugt did the same, I believe, out of solidarity with the Syrian people. It did not end well for him, he was killed in 2014 in Homs by Al-Nusra…

    Please, take care Lily.

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    • Willem, one reason for the Dutch priest’s reply is that America wants the privatisation of health care, education, and the rest of the economy trying to impose Monetarism on Syria. Kerry visited 8 times between 2003 and 2010 trying to get them to do this. They refused. Then this started.

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  2. michaelk says

    Lavrov and the Russians have a difficult diplomatic task regarding the situation in Syria. With their statements, views and arguments, who exactly are they addressing them to? There’s the UN. The Syrians. The State Department. The Pentagon. The CIA. The White House. The Congress. The media itself. The political parties. Trump and Clinton, remember there’s an election going on. Russia’s messages have to be extremely carefully calibrated and worded. The US system of government and politics is so riddled with competing factions all frantically searching for a fleeting consensus which might give them more power over policy… that it’s incredibly difficult to know who one is talking to and what to say. So on needs to be careful.

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    • deschutes says

      What are you talking about? A ‘difficult task’ for Russia you say? Actually the USA is in a more difficult position as it is trying to support both Turkey and the Kurds–and al Nusra simultaneously. That’s much more difficult that Russia’s straightforward objective of helping its only ally in the M.E. Syria. Problems addressing the parties you mention? Russia’s done a good job in that respect, better than the US State Department with that idiot John Kerry. Sorry dude, you just seem lost.

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    • They are address Kerry and Obama. Lavrov and the Russians’ problem is that America has not abandoned its key War Aim of the overthrow of the Syrian government and installation of an American client one.

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  3. deschutes says

    Refreshingly honest piece. The USA/CIA’s favorite tactic is to hijack revolutions from the grassroots native population and then do regime change. Sometimes it works (as in Ukraine), sometimes it doesn’t, or it just takes more time (Syria). Mike Whitney recently wrote one of the best articles that really explains how the Syrian war is all about competing gas pipelines-
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/15/assads-death-warrant/

    Briefly, Russia is Europe’s main supplier of natural gas, and Syria is Russia’s only ally left in the Middle East. The USA/Israel/EU want to replace Russian natural gas with Qatari natural gas going through a pipeline running from Qatar through Syria and on to European markets. When the USA proposed this pipeline to Syria, Assad refused: this really pissed off Washington/Israel, so they then decided to do a regime change op in Syria, get rid of Assad and replace him with a puppet regime as in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. So like the American lady says who wrote this article, there really was no majority grass roots revolution in Syria in 2011; and the CIA/Washington deceitfully misrepresented the tiny minority of Syrian ‘Arab spring’ demonstrators as a vast uprising to get rid of Assad. The whole strategy with the pipeline is to strangle Russia economically by stealing its EU market share natural gas sales and at the same time replacing the independent pro-Russia Assad regime with an Islamic puppet state/or just hack up Syria and give parts to Israel (Golan Heights); and Turkey. As always, the USA is the total asshole country in all of this, causing immense destruction and death of hundreds of thousands of people all so it can get more and more control and power for itself.

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  4. I am English and also live in Lattakia, Syria. I have been here for more than 30 years. From day 1, all of us knew it was never a revolution. Yes, some people wanted change and that is their right, but what happened here was NOT a revolution! It has been been orchestrated from outside and this poor country has been destroyed piece by piece. It is heartbreaking. So many lives lost. So many people’s lives destroyed and what for???? Just because the US wants regime change!!! It is so wrong, so unfair! All we can do is hope that by some miracle good sense will prevail, but somehow I doubt it!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the real culprit in your situation is Israel. They are the world’s principal colonisers.
      They are currently hell-bent on colonising Palestine in pursuit of their goal of an Eretz (Greater) Yisrael using the Yinon Plan to extend the area under their control to all of historic Mandate Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan in order to create a larger area of control, eventually stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates.
      Simultaneously, they are colonising the corridors of power in Washington D.C.
      Effectively, Israel now “owns” the U.S.
      They have two presidential candidates with daughters married to ultra-orthodox Jewish zionists.
      They virtually control the US Congress, US Supreme Court, US mass media and Hollywood.
      What they have under-estimated is the determination of the Syrian President and people to resist them.
      What they have over-estimated is America’s – the US – ability to gain their goals for them.
      When Syria – with help from its real allies – emerges as winners in the current ongoing war, there will be a period of retribution for Israel and its wicked associates, such as the Saud dictatorship and Turkish dictatorship.
      People in the U.S. will eventually wake up and realise and they have been taken for a massively costly ride.
      Then – Israel – watch out!

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  5. I was visiting a friend who is a former Royal Air Force serviceman earlier this evening and he happened to refer to the Russian bombing of the aid convoy. At that moment, pictures of the destroyed trucks came on his TV and I asked him if they looked like they had been bombed from the air.
    After studying the pictures for a few seconds, he turned to me and said “No” and started to explain the technical differences between what we were seeing on the TV and what bombing damage he had seen when in service.
    So who could have mounted an attack on the aid convoy – and why?
    Who was on the scene and who filmed the aftermath of the attack?
    The so-called and self-styled “white” helmets – that is who.
    I believe they were there because they were working hand-in-glove with the actual attackers.
    The trucks were set on fire and it is probable that the attackers murdered the drivers and aid workers.
    I am sure everyone reading this will have seen John Kerry sounding-off at the UN about this event.
    He must know that Russian and Syrian air forces were not involved, yet he maintained that they were.
    It may be he is too embarrassed to admit that the US has lost control over “their” terrorists.
    After all, they have usually lost control over “their” other terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
    What I do not altogether understand is why Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, let him say these things.
    I assume that the Russians are giving the US administration time to try to get their terrorists under control.
    Can anyone suggest any other reason why the Russians are letting the US peddle their lies and mistruths?
    Another possibility is that the US ordered “their” terrorist allies to mount the attack.
    Is it possibly connected with the current US presidential election and the administration’s preference for Clinton?
    Alternatively – though connected – is it resulting from indirect Yinon Plan orders from would-be “Eretz” Israel?

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    • John, it’s called a False Flag Attack. Obama and Kerry hasn’t lost control of heir Jihadist paramilitarues . It was deliberate and intended as a means of attacking Syria and Russia. It is too much of a coincident that it occurred the evening before the UN General Assembly meeting. lastly the news videos were prepared in advance, there was no way it could have been got out thatquickly.

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  6. The grotesque irony is that Assad is far closer to being a ‘westernised’ leader than the Islamists we are employing to topple him from power.

    Well, of course, everybody knows that. This is why he got the red carpet treatment from Tony Blair, was profiled in Vogue Magazine and elicited this policy statement from the Rand Corporation:

    “Regime collapse, while not considered a likely outcome, was perceived to be the worst possible outcome for U.S. strategic interests.”

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  7. Greetings to Lily and all the brave people of Latakia

    Thank you for your post, Lily. Yes, Syria used to be a secular state where communities with different customs lived cheek-by-jowl in tolerance. I’m not saying it was perfect, but mainly they got along and respected their differences.

    So who were the ‘rebels’ who started what has turned into the world’s worst conflict since the Rwanda genocide? One thing’s for sure: a lot of them weren’t Syrian. As Lily says, this was no grass-roots revolution, despite all we hear and read in the Western MSM. It seems to have suited outsiders – for various and even conflicting geopolitical, sectarian and/or historical reasons – to stir up the hornets’ nest with arms, money and a flood of deluded holy warriors. ‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend’ has never been truer and at the same time means the whole disaster is even harder to find a solution to – although the same interests who started it seem fairly keen to keep it going, as shown by the last few days’ ‘accidental’ bombing of the Syrian army by the United States and the mysterious attack on the Aleppo aid convoy. The so-called ‘coalition partners’ (apparently they’re lucid enough to be too ashamed to use the word ‘allies’) can’t agree on what they want, so the killing and destruction has no end in sight.

    The tsunami of anti-Syrian propaganda we’re being deluged with here in the West (for me, that’s France) is just unbelievable. That and the lies about Ukraine is what brought me to offG, a site that’s becoming ever more necessary by the day.

    Kia kaha, Lily: be strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. michaelk says

    I did, unfortunately, forget to say that there’s a third option to the American ultimatum… surrender or die. It’s to reject both these outrageous choices, and instead, organise the nation, take up arms and fight back for as long as it takes.

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  9. michaelk says

    The euphoria, or madness, in Europe and the United States after the Libyan state was toppled led to the idea that one could do almost the same thing in Syria, another state that was seen as too independent for its own good. But the West miscalculated, massively. After what the West and its Islamist mercenary army did to Libya, who in their right mind would support such a bloody, destructive and barbarous intervention? Turning the richest country in Africa into blood-soaked madhouse.

    The grotesque irony is that Assad is far closer to being a ‘westernised’ leader than the Islamists we are employing to topple him from power. If anything we should be allied with Assad against the Islamist fanatics. Sometimes one is tempted to think the leaders of the West decided to destroy Syria, on a whim, without thinking about what they were doing and the consequences, at all, especially not for the people of Syria, who our leaders pretend to care so much about.

    The myth of the ‘moderate rebels’ or ‘moderate Islamic fighters’ has virtually no basis in reality, yet our media hardly ever examines it or questions it. It’s because the journalists are afraid of the answer, or they already know the answer. These moderate rebels don’t actually exist. Only to say this in public means the entire edifice of lies and distortions comes crashing down. If that part isn’t true what about the rest of it? Can our democratic politicians be lying about the conflict in Syria? Is it Iraq and the non-existant WMDs all over again? So, better not to ask too many questions.

    Since Iraq and the ‘mistakes’ we were told this wouldn’t happen again. Our top journalists had learnt something important. Not to allow themselves to be ‘played’ by the politicians and their outrageous claims and fantastic stories used to justify a war.

    But the media in the west has apparently learnt all the wrong lessons. There is even less questioning of our political leaders than before the attack on Iraq. The media seem to be firmly under state control and follow the government’s line virtually without question, even platforms like the Guardian that used to allow the occasional dissident voice to appear. That’s all stopped. Rather abruptly since Viner took over as editor.

    Things are extraordinary today. The Americans can massacre dozens of Syrian soldiers, deliberately, and without a word of protest in our media. In fact they accept the absurd American story that it was an accident and they are sorry. Then the Americans blame the Russians for an attack on a UN aid convoy, without a shred of evidence that the Russians were involved, and in reverse, our media accepts this deadly spin, as the truth regardless of how ridiculous the story coming from the Americans and rebel sources really is. Now, that, the ability to manage and control the media with such ease, reflects, real power. Power to manipulate facts and events free of any challenges to a frightening degree. All this sends a terrible and terrifying message to the people of Syria and Russia. We can, and will do anything we like to you, if we choose to, and you have a choice, surrender, or die.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Byron Jones says

      If the Syrian Observatry for Human Rights says it then it must be true. This oft quoted organisation consists of an anti Assad fella living in Coventry who has not been to Syria for years.
      It’s all smoke and mirrors. The only truth is that the US want regime change and will stop at nothing until they get it. What we get are lies, false flags and cowardly air attacks by the US …….and then blaming Assad.
      Disgraceful

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  10. How UK can stand alone, and make decisions in the future which benefit UK, and not follow USA blindly?

    Not to sound too cynical, but history shows that European politicians who diverge from Washington’s line have an unfortunate way of ending up dead. I’m thinking of Gladio victims down the years like Italian PM Aldo Moro, Swedish PM Olof Palme, Swedish FM Anna Lindh, nearly Dutch PM Pim Fortuyn. The list goes on.

    Politicians that reach the top are creatures with a finely-tuned sense of self-preservation.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Excellent and timely piece. For more of Lily and other Syrian voices I recommend the Syria Solidarity Movement. For their statement on the Dier ez-Zour attack see: http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/09/syria-solidarity-movement-statement-on-the-us-attack-against-the-syrian-army-at-deir-ez-zour/ (links to their homepage at the bottom)
    Please be careful: not to be confused with Syrian Solidarity UK; which twists the facts and is more in line with the UK/US government – ie pro Daesh; anti free speech; anti Assad.

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  12. Excellent piece Lilly, very telling and we need to know this from the grass roots in Syria.

    If the US stopped interfering in the far abroad while accusing others of doing so in the near abroad as a cover the world would be a much more peaceful place.

    We need to remember that the US and their coalition of the witless are in Syria illegally according to the principals of international law based on the concept of national self determination.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This deliberate destruction of Syria also shows how corrupt and worthless the UN is. To allow these war crimes against Iraq, Libya and now Syria while UN delegates worry more about getting a good table at the latest trendy NYC eatery shows the blatant hypocrisy of the shameful UN.

    If there was such a thing as ‘karma’ then US citizens would have a very bleak future to look forward to, but look on the bright side, just think of all that fat they’d shed from not having any food available in stores!

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  14. This was a heartwarming letter and I have always supported the Syrian people´s struggle against islamist attacks and their foreign backers. Syria seems to be such a rich country both historically, culturally and advanced in education and science. I had a good Syrian friend when I studied medicine in the beginning of the 70ies in Valencia in Spain. I left Spain and finished my medical studies in Norway, my home country, so I lost contact with him. I often think about him and his family. I feel ashamed of the MSM in Norway and their continuos lies about the war in Syria. President Assad and his people have many followers in various Facebook groups and among friends of mine.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Backs up what has been obvious from the very start like the fake riots in Libya to topple Gadaffi !

    I was in Libya back & forward since 1985 until NATO destroyed the place – the UN “No-Fly Zone” was because of absolutely zero ? There was no people’s uprising just like Syria.

    Liked by 1 person

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