A former Syrian general told PJM from an opposition base just outside the country today that forces fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad critically need Western assistance before the dictator unleashes a catastrophic, last-stand attack on scores of civilians.
And if Washington or the European Union are concerned that weapons given to the Syrian resistance would fall into the wrong hands, the opposition leader has a solution: put them on loaner.
“If they decide to help us militarily by air or any way to help getting rid of this present regime, it’s very welcome,” the defected general, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “If it’s not going to happen this way, let them give us the weapons to get rid of the last bastion of the regime.”
That includes systems able to target the skies and even the playing field with one of Assad’s remaining strengths: an air force.
“I wish you guys can do something — give us everything that will empower us to get rid of this regime,” he continued. “Don’t be afraid that we’re going to keep those weapons and one day invade the neighbors. We’ll give you the last weapon after we take over the power.”
“We’re interested in rebuilding our country and getting rid of the evil in this country. …If the Americans or other parties are ready to help the Syrians help overturn the existing regime, I would beg you that they need to do it through the Syrian military.”
Numerous high-level defectors such as himself, the general said, “are ready to fight the final fight” to defeat “something above description — the crimes that are happening.”
“They’re like animals, like a beast on a rampage; there is no conscience there,” the general said of Assad’s loyalists. “…I am surprised that nothing has been done in the international community to save the people.”
The crimes against civilians include the torture and execution of children, sexual torture, and the torture and murder of hospital patients. Some of these grisly attacks have been documented by cell phone video and shared with the world via Syrian social networkers.
But the 40,000 death toll could climb sharply if Assad dips into his weapons of last resort as he struggles to hold on to the last gasp of his 12-year rule.
“I would say he’s definitely gone and the regime is falling day after day,” the general said, adding Assad can’t go “one meter” outside his palace. “He’s 75 percent gone.”
“The location of where he is is allowing him to resist a little bit. … He will do everything to the last man. He will use everything, including the chemical weapons. Don’t doubt about that — he will use everything.”
“I hope as God is my witness that the solution will come as a political solution,” the general continued. “I tell you why there will be a tragedy. I cannot imagine what will be used. He’s not going to leave alive.”
He added, “There’s no doubt in mind at any time he can use destructive weapons against the population.”
Washington said last week it fears Assad using his chemical weapons as rebels close in on Damascus and the president feels boxed in.
“We have sent an unmistakable message that this would cross a red line and those responsible would be held to account,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.