BEIRUT: Reactions to the attack that killed three top Syrian generals remained mixed Thursday, as some leaders denounced it, others considered it a step toward freedom for the Syrian people, while others remained silent.
Speaker Nabih Berri condemned the attack Thursday, describing it as a part of efforts to dismantle the Syrian army and partition Syria. He voiced confidence, however, that Syria would be able to overcome the crisis.
Berri extended his condolences to Syria’s leadership, Parliament, army and people, voicing his confidence that Syria would overcome this crisis to reunite and achieve civil peace.
The explosion that ripped through Damascus Wednesday claimed the lives of Syria’s Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, President Bashar Assad’s brother in-law, Gen. Assef Shawkat, and former Defense Minister Hasan Turkmani.
Berri said Syria would be able to build its future through dialogue between those who are faithful to the country and will eventually restore its role as a leader in the region.
“We express our deep regret for the loss of these leaders and condemn this terrorist act which without any doubt aims at dealing a blow to the leadership structure, culminating in dismantling the Syrian Arab Army, the guarantor of the country’s unity and stability,” said Berri.
He said the attack was part of a plan to partition Syria and undermine both its role in the region and its support for the Palestinian cause.
But Rami Rayyes, the media official of Walid Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party, said that targeting three leading security officials, whom he said were responsible for the brutal crackdown on Syrian protesters, was a natural part of the Syrian revolution.
“It is a step in the Syrian revolution and part of efforts by the Syrian people to gain freedom,” Rayyes told The Daily Star. “It is a step, but still not the end. We hope that Syria will soon exit its crisis through a collapse of this regime,” he added.
Echoing Rayyes, Beirut MP Nuhad Mashnouq, from the Future Movement, said: “What happened yesterday [Wednesday] is a step toward freedom and helps in achieving justice.”
Speaking to Future TV, Mashnouq said Assad was unable to engage in any settlement and that the attack in Damascus represented “the beginning of the end for this Syrian regime.”
Head of the pro-Syrian Arab Tawhid Party Wiam Wahhab voiced surprise that Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet failed to condemn the attack in its Wednesday session.
“Today they are afraid of the Americans, that’s why they refrain from issuing a statement condemning an explosion targeting officials in a sisterly state,” Wahhab said in a statement, thanking President Michel Sleiman for his condemnation of the attack during the session.
Meanwhile, the Free Patriotic Movement of Michel Aoun, which is represented in the government, has yet to issue a statement. Baabda MP Alain Aoun, when contacted by The Daily Star, said he would not comment on the Syria attack before consulting with the FPM leader.
Attempts to reach officials from the Marada Movement were unsuccessful.
For his part, Ali Eid, the secretary-general of the pro-Assad Arab Democratic Party, also condemned the “cowardly terrorist explosion.”
Eid said in a statement that Syria will continue its resistance against Israel and would withstand partition attempts.
The vice president of the Higher Shiite Council, Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan, slammed the “terrorist aggression,” saying it showed the magnitude of the “international attack” against Syria.