Even dictatorial regimes occasionally have peace lovers among their ranks.
In a video clip released on Sunday by a Facebook group called Syria Report, and on Monday by a pro-Syrian Turkish group called Islamic Invitation Turkey, a Syrian army officer, identified by Syria Report as Mustafa Shaddoud, is seen negotiating with rebel soldiers, even telling them “you are our people and our brothers.”
From the angle of the video, it is clear that it was filmed by opposition fighters. Based on the translation of the conversation provided on the Islamic Invitation Turkey website, they and the officer assured one another that it was safe to approach each other to talk. The rebel representative, identified in the transcript as being with the Free Syrian Army, asked Shaddoud several times where he was from, and the officer simply said that he is from Syria, “from our homeland.”
Shaddoud then placed his rifle on the ground, and motioned for the soldiers standing behind him to stand down.
The courageous officer then approached the rebels and can be seen, and heard, talking to them, smiling, and putting his counterparts at ease.
The video ended when the FSA soldiers asked Shaddoud about 150 people that he took to the check point. He said that he would answer, but “without filming, please.”
There is no way to tell from the video how the meeting ended. The Syria Report Facebook page notes that sometime after the exchange, Shaddoud was killed in battle in East Ghouta.
But perhaps the FSA fighters left the meeting with the comfort of knowing that some of their countrymen, even those loyal to President Bashar Assad, believe in a better future for all Syrians.