Syrian opposition politician Riad Al-Turk said in an April 8, 2020 interview on BBC Arabic (U.K.) that the opposition to the Syrian regime will eventually be victorious, even though it has not achieved its goal of ousting the Assad regime. He said that several mistakes were made by the revolution, including resorting to violence, failing to unite the ranks of its members, and insisting that the Muslim Brotherhood play a role in the revolution. He elaborated that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups did not adopt the popular and democratic approach of the revolution and that they instead tried to put the spotlight on themselves rather than on the revolution as a whole. Al-Turk added that he does not regret his role in the revolution, even though he spent many years as a political prisoner.
Riad Al-Turk: "I say that I am still alive and that victory will be ours, Allah willing."
Interviewer: "What was the mistake of the Syrian opposition and the Syrian Democratic People's Party?"
Riad Al-Turk: "Now that nine years have passed [since the launch of the Syrian revolution], if one considers the seven forces that played a role in it, one may note that the Muslim Brotherhood did not entirely comply with the popular and democratic approach of the revolution as much as it tried to tip the balance towards their Islamic approach. This is where you may criticize us, because our insistence on the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood did not yield the results we had been hoping for. We wanted them to join as a force alongside the other forces, rather than as a force operated by a foreign power.
"Two [mistakes] were made. The first was resorting to violence and the second was the attempt... I don't want to say that [the Islamists] tried to monopolize the political action and the popular protest, as much as they tried to put a spotlight on their own group rather than on the movement in a more general and inclusive sense.
"If we talk about the development and progress of the revolution, it is fair to say that the movement has not fulfilled its main goal of ousting the regime.
"The truth is that as an opposition movement, we were incapable of uniting our ranks. This is a major weak point. Our unity faltered and we could not make progress in our conflict with the regime. This is why we retreat after eight years. The defeat... I shouldn't call it a defeat. There are victories in this battle. In this sense, this is a historic process, and it is too early to talk about a real victory for democracy in the Arab world."
Interviewer: "Do you regret your role in the struggle, having spent the best years of your life in prison?"
Riad Al-Turk: "No."