Syrian lawmaker slams regime's preferential treatment of foreign soldiers
A Syrian lawmaker has made a rare speech critical of the regime and its preferential treatment of foreign troops fighting to prop up President Bashar al-Assad.
Wael Melhem voiced his concerns this week at parliament, slamming the government for providing meagre food rations for Syrian fighters, while foreigner received plenty.
"Regarding the forces in the Syrian Arab Army, I personally have visited many of the front lines and seen the troops; soldiers get a bit of potato every day or two loaves of bread," Melhem told stone-faced lawmakers.
"In comparison, allied forces get hot meals. How can this army fight?" he added.
Melhem also urged the regime to provide adequate compensation for the families of slain servicemen, who he said had made the "ultimate sacrifice" for the country.
He said that regime soldiers deserved preferential treatment over foreign fighters, as well as better wages and clothing.
|Wael Melhem voiced his concerns this week at parliament [Facebook]|
The independent MP, representing the former rebel stronghold of Homs, said his constituents were in dire need of adequate medical services.
"I took the minister of health to a so-called hospital in Homs that was made up of 20 beds with people lying in corridors and men and women in the same rooms," Melhem said, adding that despite promises from the minister for funds to improve the health facility nothing has happened.
Iran and the militant group Hizballah have sent thousands of fighters to Syria to support forces of the Assad regime.
Melhem's strongly worded plea has been ridden off by some social media users as regime ploy to give the impression that there was real democracy in the country.
"Guys, he has been pushed by the government and parliament to say this in order to pacify the growing anger on the streets… but in the end a couple words won't change a thing," said one user.
Political analyst Motee al-Bateen told Al Jazeera that the regime was actually seeking to kill off as many conscripts as possible during battle because "the majority of them are Sunnis".
Bateen also claimed that an ongoing Iranian conspiracy was trying to depopulate Sunni areas and have them repopulated with Shias.
More than 310,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.