The urgency to topple al-Assad: “He’s killing the best of us!”

Nagia Kurabi

AJ and Nagia Kurabi want to set you straight on the Syrian revolution: “Everything you hear in the media is wrong.”

In an interview on Washington, DC’s We Act Radio on April 10, the Kurabis advocated for Syrian revolutionaries, those who have defied the regime of President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011.

They denounced attempts to discredit the opposition and undermine their support. “They are not terrorists, insurgents, Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda,” they insisted. Instead, they described them as either civilians and organized activists or soldiers defected from the Syrian Armed Forces–and who now make up the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

“We are united. We are a mosaic. We are not only Sunnis, Shiites, Jews and Christians,” Nagia said.

Syrian Americans and immigrants to the US more than 25 years ago, the Kurabis form a complementary team of advocates for the Syrian opposition. Nagia is verbose and passionate as she describes the atrocities committed by the al-Assad regime. AJ in contrast offers nuanced analysis delivered in precise language with a mastery of detail.

They have been organizers of a rally scheduled for April 13 in front of the Saudi Embassy on behalf of Syrian women and children. They intend to deliver messages to the Prince of Saudi Arabia from the FSA asking for support–food, medicine and support for a buffer zone so that civilians can find safe haven.

The Saudis have said “it was ‘a good idea’ to arm the Syrian rebels and create a safe haven on the Turkish border,” while the US has encouraged them to pursue other diplomatic solutions. The Saudis have also unsuccessfully pressed Jordan to allow arms to pass through their borders to reach the FSA.

The Kurabis believe Syria will become a democratic country if al-Assad is deposed. “Syria is different” from other Mideast countries, they said, citing its “rich history” with cultural contributions by the Persians, Romans and Greeks. There will be long-term benefits if Syria becomes a democratic country, they say, and another advantage is that Iran will be isolated. “If the Syrian revolution wins, Iran is next,” Nagia said.

In addition to a safe haven, the opposition wants a no-fly zone and more support for the FSA and the Syrian National Council. They define support for the FSA not only in terms of food and medicine but arms as well: “If we arm the Syrian [opposition], it won’t take much to topple the regime.” And in any case, they assert that al-Assad’s grip on power will not last forever, but the question is, for how long he will maintain it.

Eleven to twelve thousand Syrians have been killed in the conflict so far, but the Kurabis believe this is a low estimate. Al-Assad escalated the killing in the last six months because, they say, he has felt more secure that Western nations will not act to stop him. “Our women are getting raped, our children are getting slaughtered, our men are getting imprisoned,” AJ said.

Nagia summed up the urgency she feels, saying, “He’s killing the best of us!”

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