The Syrian regime wants to crush us; the killing of Dr Abbas Khan is an example of how it is trying to achieve this

The Assad regime and Islamic extremists are trying to thwart the efforts of the majority of Syrians to secure a better future.

Fayez Sara was a political prisoner in Syria. He is now a senior member of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces

This week London mourned the 32-year old British surgeon Abbas Khan, who was murdered in one of the prisons of the Syrian intelligence forces, according to an official statement of the British government.

The government has rejected the Assad regime’s lying claim that Khan killed himself – a claim that is impossible to believe for anyone who has the slightest information about the prisons of the Syrian intelligence forces.

Assad’s war on the Syrian people began three years ago and has killed or wounded hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Abbas Khan wanted to help treat the victims. That is how he went to Turkey to take part in the training of medical teams made up of Syrian volunteers to treat the sick and wounded. Then he went to Aleppo, which was being bombed daily with rockets and mortars and barrel bombs, to work in the emergency medical teams there.

But Assad’s forces arrested him late in 2012, held him secretly, tortured him and refused to release him until the moment when the news of his death, allegedly by suicide, in the prison was released in an official announcement.

This is the kind of tactic which the Assad regime has been practising against Syrians since Hafez al-Assad took power in 1970. They repeatedly suppressed popular movements for freedom starting in the 70s. They committed bloody massacres against civilians in Syria in the beginning of the 1980s, especially in the city of Hama. They conducted a mass execution of detainees in the Tadmor prison in the desert in 1980.

Bashar al-Assad continued the bloody policy of his father by supporting the activity of extremist groups in Iraq over the course of the last decade. He supported the activities of Fatah al-Islam in north Lebanon. He planned the assassinations of Lebanese leaders both before and after the withdrawal of his forces from Lebanon in 2005, most significantly the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon.

Then he reached the bloodiest point of his policy against the Syrian people after they began demonstrations against him in May 2011.

Assad’s security forces and army have killed nearly 150,000 Syrians, most of them civilians. They have wounded hundreds of thousands, most of whom have been left with permanent injuries. There are hundreds of thousands of detainees and disappeared persons and 10 million internally displaced persons and refugees who are living in hellish conditions.

The purpose of this is to subjugate Syrians and force them back into the embrace of the regime and of the dictatorship and corruption which the Assad regime represents, after a revolution in which Syrians demanded freedom, democracy, justice and equality.

The Syrian people were not – as the extremists claim – demanding the establishment of an Islamic state.

The regime wants to crush us, and the killing of Dr Abbas Khan is just one example of how it is trying to achieve this.

Extremists from the Jabhat al-Nusrah and ISIS are trying to steal the Revolution.

Neither of them succeed in thwarting the efforts of the majority of Syrians to secure a better future for their country and themselves through establishing a democratic regime – something quite different both from the Assad regime and from the extremists’ dream of an Islamic state.

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