Newsmaker: Canada must oppose Syrian oppression
MONTREAL - Afra Jalabi knows that it doesn't take much to incur the wrath of the Syrian government. A few years ago the Montreal mother joined a group asking for gradual reform in Syria, leading her to a prime spot on the country's most wanted list.
Those asking for democracy in Syria have seen that bloody intolerance from up close as hundreds have been killed by the current Syrian regime.
It's a bitter disappointment to those who had hoped the Arab spring would easily spread freedom to Syria
"When Bashar al-Assad came to power he promised reform and less restrictive security system and more human rights," says Jalabi. "It was called our Damascus spring."
Nothing good came of it. It has been 11 years of waiting following 30 years of his father ruling with an iron fist.
"The Syrian population has been committed to a non-violent revolution and the Syrian regime has been trying to make a smear campaign against the youth movement or the people in the streets," said Jalabi.
The government is correct, however, in saying that armed gangs are roaming the streets, because they are the ones organizing it, says Jalabi.
"The armed gangs work for the regime, some are snipers and shoot at unarmed protesters. They have targeted children and detaining young people and torturing them severely," said Jalabi.
Jalabi wants Canada to take a harder-line stance against the Syrian regime. "We belong to a global community, our fate is increasingly intertwined," she noted.
Watch the full interview in the video player to the right.