02/25/2021

10th anniversary of Syrian uprising (March 4

Western Syria policy has failed

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the uprising against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has made a critical assessmant. "In the first years after the beginning of the uprising, it was the regime and its allies – Russia and Iran – who committed the worst human rights violations, the war crimes and the crimes against humanity," stated Dr. Kamal Sido, the STP's Middle East Consultant. "Meanwhile, however, it is NATO member Turkey and the Turkish-backed militias who are responsible for most of the crimes against the non-Sunni and non-Arab population." This includes the Kurds, Armenians, Assyro-Aramaic, Chaldeans, Christians, Druze, Yazidis, and other minorities living in the country. In addition to the regime in Damascus, almost all armed groups are responsible for serious human rights violations and war crimes as well.

"Not a day goes by without extrajudicial killings, arrests, disappearances, torture, forced displacement, and expulsion," Sido criticized. "Apparently, the international community and the UN Security Council have given up hope regarding this tragedy" Meanwhile, the Syrian people's demands for democracy and freedom have faded into the background. Now, the people want only one thing: an end to the bloodshed.

According to reports from various human rights organizations, about 1,734 civilians got killed last year alone, including 326 children and 169 women. There were 1,882 arbitrary arrests, 157 people were reportedly tortured to death, and hundreds of thousands were displaced or forced to leave their homes. The regime in Damascus and its allies are still responsible for most of the crimes – but Turkey and its Islamist allies are committing many crimes as well. Many of the militias or their political proxies can rely on support from other NATO members such as Germany.

"Russia has a clearly defined goal: to keep the regime in Damascus in power. NATO, meanwhile, is acting without a strategy and in disunity," Sido explained, emphasizing that Europe's despondency and the US government's misdirection, especially under Trump, was a disaster for the Syrian people, especially in the north of the country. "For years, the Kurdish and other ethnic groups in northern Syria tried to defended Western values such as ethnic and religious diversity, women's rights, and peaceful coexistence against the so-called 'Islamic State', and to work towards a democratic Syria after Assad. The West, especially Donald Trump and Angela Merkel, has betrayed them," Sido criticized. "This misguided policy has strengthened Putin, Erdogan, Assad, and the Syrian Islamists. Democratic states hardly seem capable of acting – and it is cynical to keep reiterating the importance of the universal human rights with regard to northern Syria. It is high time to reassess the Western policy on Syria and to take countermeasures.