What do Syrians think of Bashar al-Assad?
As someone who has spent a lot of time in Syria before and during the conflict, I have taken many opportunities to ask this question.
Let me begin my response by asking you:
What do the people of your country think of your Head of State? Does every single one of you have exactly the same opinion? I am guessing -no. It’s the same all over the world, including Syria.The Western media have given the image of Syria as being a black and white, straight down the middle, for or against, simplistic portrayal of the country, it’s leader and it’s people.
Here is a brief list of all the different opinions I have come across from Syrians about Assad.
Love the man – Adore him (genuinely)
Regard him as an astute politician.
Had great expectation and hope about him when he first came into power, then he lost the goodwill of the people after he came down heavy at the start of the ‘Arab Spring’.
Had negative feelings about him before, but now love the guy because of what he is doing against ISIS
Reluctantly like/respect/tolerate the man because he is the only current answer in the fight against ISIS
Believe Assad is not the problem – it’s the politicians behind him. This is usually followed with something on the lines of: We need to change the system, not just the man.Assad is a politician – and all politicians deserved to he disliked. He is no better or worse than Obama, Clinton, etc.
He is not as bad as his father. He made some changes, but not enough.
He is as bad as his father.
He is worse than his father.
Hate and loathing of the man.
A rebel (who the West are supporting) once told me: We will use the Americans to kill Assad and then we will kill the Americans.
A Syrian soldier (who the West are against) once told me “All politicians – bad. All people – Good.”
The real world is not simplistic and Muslims/Syrians are not robots programmed to think one thing. They are as complex in their thoughts and opinions as people from your country.