“We are not fans of killing, but the regime forced us to fight,” was the protesters’ message, said a local activist [in Idlib province] who goes by the pseudonym Ibrahim al-Idlibi for his safety.
As you may recall, in the early months of the Syrian uprising (which began almost five years ago), opposition to the regime largely took the form of secular protests in which hundreds of thousands of Syrian participated, demanding an end to the brutal regime and calling for freedom and democracy.
Only when the regime began shooting, imprisoning and torturing peaceful opponents did demonstrations morphed into armed struggle– creating an opening for the Islamic State and other bad actors to move in.
So it’s good to see at least some Syrians feeling safe enough from the threat of airstrikes to return to the streets. Note the absence of the flags of IS and other religious extremist groups.
Let’s hope it lasts.