But he believes that his message, unpopular among his revolutionary colleagues, is one they need to hear — that their revolution has ended; that a dangerous wave of Islamic extremism has welled up in its place; that they should work to stop the fighting now; and that if they can’t, they should hope it’s Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who wins.
“To simply say I want Assad to win would be a disaster if anyone heard it,” the activist says. “But we’ve created a monster. For too long on the ground, there was too much focus on the crimes the regime was committing and not enough on our own problems. And addressing these problems was always being delayed.
“So we knew there was some sort of Islamism in the fighting even when it was starting back in 2012 and we would ignore this, because we would say it would all end soon — Assad is going to fall in two weeks; Assad is going to fall in a month; Assad’s going to fall in Aleppo. At each moment, we thought it was going to end very soon, and that meant we were neglecting the mistakes that were being made [among the revolution]. We were thinking, OK, the regime’s going to fall, and we can solve this later. We just need to get rid of Assad. This was a big mistake.