Bashar Barhoum is a well-known political activist from Syria’s ruling Alawite minority (President Bashar al-Assad is Alawite). This week he posted a video rant expressing how he’d much rather live under the comfortable Israeli “occupation” than in his own corrupt and crumbling country.
“Those [Syrians who live under the rule of the Israelis in the Golan Heights are the people who profited greatly [from the 1967 Six-Day War], not those who remained in sovereign Syria,” stressed Barhoum, noting that Arabs living in territories under Israel rule–be it the Golan, Gaza or Jerusalem–earn a far higher living than those living in Arab states.
“If you were to offer a Syrian on the Golan the chance to come back to his homeland and earn $12 a month, do you really think he’d come?” Barhoum asked rhetorically.
He then seemed to lament that Israel hadn’t conquered more of Syria: “If Israel had occupied the countryside of Latakia (where the Alawite minority is primarily concentrated), today the salary of the lowest-earning citizen would be at least $400.”
What’s more, he continued, Arabs living under Israel don’t have to worry about basic necessities like electricity and fuel. “They enjoy a luxurious life, in which they have electricity available around the clock, and fuel of all kinds at any time.”
This isn’t the first time we hear such things from average Syrians.
In 2019, the Syrian Observer, an independent online news service, posted a series of anonymous reports showing local Syrians celebrating Israeli airstrikes on military targets belonging to the Assad regime and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies. Many Syrians say Iran is ruining their country, just as it ruined Lebanon through Hezbollah, for the sake of confronting Israel.
Our own reporter, Yochanan Visser, then visited Syrian Druze sources on the Golan Heights who confirmed that the vast majority of them want to remain under Israeli rule.
In late 2021, a Syrian refugee speaking from the safety of a third country, went much further by begging Israel to take over his country.
“I envy the Syrians who live on the conquered Golan Heights!” he said in a viral YouTube video clip. “I propose to the Israeli government to conquer all of Syria, not just the Golan Heights!”
“The Syrians in the Golan Heights enjoy security, stability and tranquility under Israeli rule,” the refugee concluded. “May Allah bless the Land of Israel!”
That sentiment seems to be spreading among Syrians today.
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