Middle East

Should the international community intervene in Syria?

Syrian protesters have called for international protection from government security forces.

Some called for international observers to be sent in a monitoring role.

Opponents of this idea say it will open the door to Western intervention and will not lead to the stability of Syria, but will repeat the scenario in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the UN, more than 2,700 people have been killed in Syria since anti-government protests began more than six months ago.

BBC Arabic spoke to two young Syrians with opposing opinions toward the principle of international protection for the demonstrators.

Danny Abdullah is a Syrian British activist

Image caption Danny believes that Western intervention is better than the regime's repression of dissidents

Danny was shot at while demonstrating in Homs, Syria. He came back to the UK to tell his story. He had been studying business management in al Kalamoon University which is situated outside Damascus.

"Of course I am in favour of international intervention because, despite all their faults, Western countries are better than our government that kills, destroys and steals.

"Every day it conscripts the country's finest only to protect the authorities. The killing even reaches children and humanitarian organisations. A friend of mine at the Red Cross was killed while on duty.

"Intervention should be done by sending observers on the ground and not for one or two days, because the government will stage a good show and take them to 5-star prisons that were built for such visits.

"They'll be taken to areas where there are no protests. If they were to stay for longer we could go to these areas and protest without fear, and the government would think twice before committing crimes.

"If the killing spree continues then military intervention will be necessary by enforcing a no-fly zone because many of the soldiers who want to defect are frightened of an air strike. I think that if a no-fly zone were enforced 70% would defect.

"The law for demonstrations requires you to obtain permission from the Ministry of the Interior and this is only given to pro-regime demonstrations. I know a few people who requested permission to demonstrate against the government who were arrested and their families still don't know what has happened to them. We can only demonstrate in alleyways out of the government's reach.

"The alternative to Assad's regime is available. Syria has 24 million people and many of them are educated and qualified to become the alternative.

"I don't pin my hopes on the overseas opposition but the local protests are draining the regime, which is trying to cope with their continuing action. I envisage a future free of Assad. I don't know how long it will be, but if he doesn't go then we will all be killed."

Bashar is a Syrian resident in Saudi Arabia

Bashar lives and works in Saudi Arabia. Originally from Latakia, he is pro-regime.

"I am against any foreign interventions in Syria because it would destroy the country and will not differentiate between the opposition or pro-government. Part of my family are in the military and they tell me that the coverage of protests is wildly exaggerated by channels that have an interest in destroying the country.

"There is no such thing as 'Shabiha' (armed gangs or militants). It was a word used to describe those who smuggled goods across borders, but when President Assad took power he waged a campaign against them and most of them disappeared.

"I agree with the peaceful change, but some people have no interest or do not want to change peacefully, like the Muslim Brotherhood, which is set on destroying the country. The president issued the laws governing the peaceful demonstration and they were not abided by because they have a private agenda to receive power and ruined the country. 

"I am against the shedding of a single drop of blood so I am with the dialogue. The number of people who came out last Friday calling for valuable international protection was very small and because the majority of Syrians are against external intervention. Those who called for it are simpletons who take orders from clerics.

"Until now there is no alternative that would secure stability and peace except for Assad authority. 

"What's happening now is been taken as an excuse for the West to intervene in Syrian affairs. We saw how the West intervened in Iraq under the excuse of WMDs and ruined the country, and intervened in Afghanistan with the excuse of terrorism and ruined the country too."