Wait, so they think Obama is full of sh*t?
KIEV, Ukraine — Some Syrians have a simple message for Ukrainians waiting for a response from the U.S. and the West as the crisis in Crimea unfolds: Don’t get your hopes up.
The Syrian uprising grinds into its third year this month, and many in the opposition see a long string of broken promises from an international community that voiced support for their fight to overthrow their Russia-backed president, Bashar al-Assad.
With Russia now sending its forces to the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and with worries that it might invade the mainland, western leaders have been swift with recriminations. President Barack Obama warned Russia on Friday that there would be “costs” for its aggression.
But Syrian rebels and activists reiterated one piece of advice for the Ukrainians whose protest movement toppled the country’s president, a Russian ally, last week. “Make sure that you achieve whatever you’re aiming for with your own hands,” Abdullah Ismail, a rebel coordinator based on the Turkish border, told BuzzFeed. “That’s the only way to avoid relying on promises.”
“Ukrainians must believe only in themselves,” said Barzan Iso, a Syrian-Kurdish journalist and activist.
The Syrian opposition had long held out hope for significant U.S. support for their uprising, from heavy weapons and surface-to-air missiles to a no-fly zone. They argued that Assad’s main allies — Russia and Iran — had been steadfast in boosting his regime with arms and money, and in the latter case, with boots on the ground.
Many Syrians were deeply disappointed when Obama failed to enforce his famous “red line” on the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons with air strikes — opting instead for a Moscow-initiated deal for the regime to give up its stockpile of chemical arms. “Do not develop strategies that are based on any assumption that the U.S. or EU will demonstrate assertive leadership to deter Russian aggression,” said Amr al-Azm, a U.S.-based member of the Syrian opposition and a professor at Shawnee State University.