Image via Syrian Girl
A young Australian-based nationalist, known only as Syrian Girl, began speaking and writing about her country’s civil war back in in 2012. Her medium of choice is YouTube, where she posts heated monologues sledging Western notions of Syria’s civil war. For example: Bashar al-Assad isn’t a tyrant, he’s only protecting his people. Also: Syria is entitled to chemical weapons, and we should feel lucky the country even admitted to them.
One Syrian Girl video, If Syria Disarms Chemical Weapons We Lose the War, has been viewed 44,720 times, with a very favourable like-to-dislike ratio. At the time of writing, her channel has amassed over 30,000 subscribers and close to 2.5 million views. To find out what makes her so popular, I got in touch to talk war, ISIS and of course, Syria.
VICE: Hi Syrian Girl. First, let’s get a bit more info. Can you tell me about yourself?
Syrian Girl: I am a Patriot Syrian Nationalist, who rejects any breach of Syrian sovereignty. I represent Syrians who want to see Syria remain secular, united and strong. I don’t tolerate foreigners destroying our way of life, forcing us to live a certain way. Whether it’s ISIS or the US government. I want to see peace and justice in the world.
Okay, can you fill us in on Syria, before and now?
Syria was very similar to Australia back in 2010. Young people worried if they were going to get their hands on the iPhone but now they’re worrying about how they’re going to stay alive. A friend who was once was a party animal, obsessed with trance music, is a now part of the Syrian Army defending Damascus.
It’s pretty surreal to be where we are now, with brutal beheadings on the street. People didn’t think extremist groups like ISIS or ethnic cleansing religions would become a reality again. For nearly a thousand years Syrians lived agreeably. If it can happen to Syria it can happen anywhere.
Roadside mural of Bashar al Assad along the Damascus/Aleppo highway. Image via James Gordon
You've taken the side of the Assad regime. Why?
The Syrian uprising had very little to do with the democracy loving groups as it was claimed, but rather the regressive Muslim brotherhood movement. The Syrian National Council was 80 percent comprised of this brotherhood, who have attempted revolutions before. The first demonstrations were not all peaceful either. Many soldiers and police officers were killed within the first three months. When it became a fully-fledged insurgency, with men taking up arms against the police and army, with money supplied to them from Gulf Arab states, I felt that the country was suddenly threatened, and the thing to do was stand by the army and government and call for peaceful democratic reform. I’m certain that if armed extremist gangs hell bent on Sharia law started shooting at police, killing soldiers and bombing areas of Australia as they were in Syria, most Australians would support their military.
Unfortunately the US and Australian governments decided to support these armed groups in Syria. It's a clear double standard.
Regardless, Assad is killing his own people. Why should we like him?
Because the media has been selective and biased with its reporting, blaming all 200,000 deaths on Assad and not on the "rebels," when in fact the majority of those killed were Syrian soldiers and Rebels. And these statistics are reported from the SOHR (Syrian Observatory for Human rights) and UN, which the media themselves quoted.
But that’s an issue with reporting. The basic fact is that people are being killed. That’s not an issue for you?
It is a loaded question! You are putting the blame on one man, whereas I blame the nations that backed, armed and supported the insurgency. I have a problem with any innocent person dying and there is plenty of blame to share. The Syrian army had no choice but to fight, otherwise ALQaeda would’ve taken over the country. When war begins, civilians are bound to die and endure hell on earth, that’s why I’m an anti-war activist.
An example of Syrian Girl's controversial videos
Is this an unusual opinion in Syria?
No, Assad has millions of supporters. He wouldn’t have survived this long if he didn’t. Syria has had an election both before and after the crisis, and in both cases the majority voted for Assad.
Why do you think Australians are joining the fight with ISIS in Syria?
It’s known that these young people have been brainwashed, they’ve been preached into believing they are fighting god’s war. They have also been promised the creation of an Islamic caliphate, which can span from the Middle East and extend into Europe. They believe in a messianic prophecy where Jesus will come down to Syria to defeat the anti-christ, but only if Syria is an "Islamic state".
If ISIS reaches Europe, what do you predict will happen?
When people think about World War Three, they usually define it as a war fought in the West. But for Syria, WW3 has already begun and it’s being fought on Syrian land. For now the great powers, Russia and the US, are happy to fight their wars by proxy, in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Georgia and Ukraine. But who knows if that might change. The west is safe for now, but the whole world is teetering on the edge, and not since the days of the cold war have we been so close to falling.
You've made a number of predictions for the Middle East that have come to fruition. What's going to happen next?
Anyone who’s been paying close attention to what’s been going in the world the last 14 years would be able to do the same. I said on SBS Insight in early 2013 that Al Qaeda was the greatest threat in the Syrian conflict. I said US foreign policy supporting rebels and destabilising the Syrian state would turn Syria into another Afghanistan, and that life for women in rebel held areas would be very similar to that in Afghanistan.
Now, I predict that the US is going to claim Syria has not completely disposed of its chemical weapons, and use that as an excuse to air-strike army positions, possibly after another smaller chemical weapons attack is set up. This is going to be a similar scenario to the lead up of the Iraq war in 2002. I believe the US will start air striking the Syrian military as well as Al Qaeda linked rebels, effectively attacking both sides of the war.
The stated objective of such attacks, according to think tank analysts like Washington institute’s Andrew Tabler is to balkanise Syria into three states, a Kurdish north, an Allawite Coast controlled by Assad, and a land locked middle for everyone else, controlled by extremists and under perpetual drone strikes. If the US does strike Syria, Iran, Russia and China may react. Which would lead to a conflagration into neighbouring countries, a regional war, and potentially even a world war.
Follow Syrian Girl on her blog.