The Syrian regime is responsible for the refugee tragedy

Underlying reality, one impossible to ignore, is that Syrian regime is responsible for tragedies, including refugee problem and depopulation of villages and towns.

Endless flow

2015/10/09 Issue: 26 Page: 7

The Arab Weekly
Majed Kayali

Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi’s dead body, swept ashore by the waves, along with his brother and mother, aroused public outrage in Europe. It coincided with scenes of Syrian refugees stranded at sea and on land or stuck in Hungary with authorities there trying to prevent them from crossing to Western countries where they hoped to find a safe place to live.

What we have here is not a problem of refugees who have left their country on their own choice simply to look for a better life somewhere else.

This is a real human tragedy in the full sense of the term: the victims of a horrendous war who have been deprived of safety, homes and means of making a living.

The European official and public sympathy over the plight of the refugees does a lot of good for their cause but this sympathy has be elevated and matched by action. The problem of the Syrians is not confined to those who are seeking asylum in Europe. There are millions more who sought refuge in the neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, with millions more who are internal refugees in their own country.

More efforts should be made to make it clear to the world that these people are victims of a regime that has aimed to suppress the aspirations of Syrian citizens to freedom and to a dignified life by using all the lethal weapons in its arsenal: warplanes, tanks, artillery and conventional and barrel bombs. More than 240,000 Syrians have been killed in the conflict, vast neighbourhoods destroyed and thousands of people opposed to the Assad regime detained.

The underlying reality, one impossible to ignore, is that the Syrian regime is responsible for the tragedies in the country, including the refugee problem and the depopulation of villages and towns it considers hotbeds for breeding opposition.

The Assad regime, in coopera­tion with Iran, is intent on effecting changes in the demo­graphic map of Syria.

The attempt to find a solution to the Syrian refugee problem should first and foremost treat the root cause — the Assad regime’s mass killing of civilians and the bombing of populated areas with the use of barrel and vacuum bombs.

There is an urgent need for the expulsion of foreign armed groups, including pro-Iran militias, as a step to allow Syrian refugees to go back to their homes. Obviously, this cannot be done with Bashar Assad, who treats Syria as if it were his private property, still in power.

The international community should put an end to a regime that is killing its people and destroying their property in an effort to continue ruling a country the Assad family have been governing since 1970.

One is perplexed at this reluc­tance on the part of world powers to stop the Syrian tragedy. Is it because Syria has borders with Israel? Is it because Syria is not an oil-producing country? Or is it because it occupies a geostrategic position that has Russia vying with the United States and other powers for spheres of influence?

It seems that in the answers to these questions lies the fate of the Syrian people and with them the possible end to their unbearable sufferings.

Majed Kayali is a Palestinian writer.

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