To understand Aamer’s journey you have to consider what he left behind.
After he told me his story of how he went from Homs to Edinburgh I decided to ask his opinion on some of the wider issues surrounding the exodus from his country.
I had argued in a previous post that I found the UK parliament’s decision to bomb ISIS in Syria nonsensical, especially given that the vast amount of causalities in Syria have been caused by the regime.
Aamer had joined the Syrian Revolution from its birth, when it was a protest of a people against their government and not the quagmire that exists today.
ISIS dominates the headlines now – and dominates our foreign policy decisions – but it was Assad who turned his army on his own people, it was Assad who labeled them terrorists while turning a blind eye to ISIS’ formation and it is Assad who is still dropping barrel bomb after barrel bomb on his own country.
I asked Aamer, who had been thrown into jail and beaten for calling for a new Syria, if he still had the same view on Assad.
His answer was heartrendingly personal, and told me what I hadn’t brought myself to ask – the fate of his friend shot in the arm by Assad’s forces.
I asked him what he thought of our decision to bomb ISIS in Syria. He was worried that bombing in Syria wouldn’t affect ISIS but instead would target ordinary Syrians.
He told me something else, something I had been aware of. Just last week however, I speaking to a friend here about the decision to bomb Syria and when I brought up this aspect he had never heard of it before. In fact, he challenged me to produce sources for something I had taken to be common knowledge – that Assad helped ISIS grow.
Check out these articles to read further on that idea:
I ended our conversation together by asking Aamer the most difficult question of all – what hope did he have for Syria? For this war to end and him to return home?
His response was bleak.
With all the different powers engaged in Syria now he fears that it could become the smoke to the fire of a third world war.