Syria in Transition: An Insider’s View


Published on Dec 12, 2012
Syria in Transition: An Insider’s View

While fears of chemical weapons and of an impending “failed state” dominate discussions on Syria, a narrative is being largely lost: civil leaders inside Syria who are taking matters into their own hands. Civilian administrative councils have emerged throughout Syria in so-called “liberated zones.” Civilians are organizing for purposes of administering basic municipal services and law and order as they prepare for a post-Assad future. What do these pockets of self-governed territory look like and how can they be sustained? What is the relationship between the civilian councils and the military brigades? How can the United States most effectively help civilian units prepare for a post-Assad future? Please join the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force for a conversation with Ilhan Tanir, Washington correspondent for Vatan, and Mohammed A. Ghanem, senior political advisor at the Syrian American Council, who has just returned from Syria. Ghanem and Tanir will discuss how Syrian civilians are creating a government of their own and how this movement may impact the country’s future.

Mohammed A. Ghanem
Senior Political Advisor, Syrian American Council

Ilhan Tanir
Washington Correspondent, Vatan (Turkish Daily Newspaper)

Leila Hilal
Director, Middle East Task Force, New America Foundation

An excellent discussion primarily about the civilian rule in al-Bab (Aleppo province), Aleppo city and Binnish (Idlib province), as well as the FSA in Aleppo and elsewhere in terms of organisation, arms, funding and the situation with Jabhat al-Nusra and other extremist groups. Ghanem and Tanir came back from Syria where they have been in contact with both civilian and military leaders of the revolution. Al-Bab in particular is in incredible example of a functioning revolutionary town despite the bombardments that have been unleashed upon it for over a year. Something that remains unmentioned however is the role of its Mufti, Shaykh Ahmad al-Nasaan, who has been its Mufti during the reign of the regime and has become a leader amongst Aleppo’s revolutionary scholars through his position in Aleppo’s Jabhat al-Ulema.

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