September 9, 2013 by Ahmad al-Jarba and Salim Idris
Ahmad al-Jarba is president of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. Brig. Gen. Salim Idris is chief of staff of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army.
Of all the popular uprisings in recent history, that of the Syrian people is the most documented. For 2.5 years, the Assad regime’s inhumane military repression has been shown to the world through testimonies, photos and video footage captured on the mobile phones of terrified Syrians and, increasingly, through reports from respected international journalists.
It has never been more important to remember that the first months of the revolution resonated with the heartfelt slogans of “The Syrian people are one” and “Peaceful.” Even when Bashar al-Assad’s security forces upgraded their repression from live fire to airstrikes, peaceful demonstrators continued to chant, armed with banners, flowers and even cool water for the very security forces tasked with crushing them. For daring to be one of the leaders of such an inspiring, nonviolent civil movement, 26-year-old Ghiath Matar was arrested in Daraya in September 2011, tortured and killed. He became one of the early symbols of the Syrian revolution.