Prevent a humanitarian disaster in Syria! An appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Royal family of Jordan should show solidarity with Syrian refugees (Pressemitteilung)

“We urge Jordan not to turn the desperate refugees away at the border, but to reach out to them and relieve their great misery.” Picture: Wikimedia Commons CC0

On Thursday – following attacks of the Syrian army against the region around Daraa in the south of the country, which is held by Islamist fighters – the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) sent a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights, Seid Al-Hussein (who is from Jordan), demanding measures to prevent an even greater humanitarian catastrophe and to try and protect civilians who are on the run. “Please use your good contacts and personal connections to the royal family of Jordan and other Arab rulers in the region. Please ask them to open their hearts and help the needy refugees – quickly,” the human rights organization wrote to the diplomat, who is a member of the royal family of Jordan himself. The country has already provided shelter for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and does not want to take in more people.

According to the United Nations, the situation in Daraa is getting worse – and the World Food Program (WFP) estimates that the number of displaced persons is around 330,000. “We urge Jordan not to turn the desperate refugees away at the border, but to reach out to them and relieve their great misery,” the STP appealed. “In addition, it is necessary to send observers to the region, which has been in conflict since 2012, to document human rights violations and war crimes so that the perpetrators can be punished. 

Daraa’s water and food supply has collapsed almost completely, just like the city’s electricity supply and medical infrastructure. The region, which is predominantly inhabited by Sunni Arabs, is one of the last regions still controlled by Islamist rebels. Assad has started an offensive against them, supported by Russia.

While Russia, Iran, and the Lebanese Hezbollah are behind Assad in the Syrian conflict, there are many indications that the rebels (most of whom are of Sunni faith) are being abandoned by Turkey and other Sunni forces. “Turkey’s only concern seems to be to crush all Kurdish autonomy aspirations,” said Kamal Sido, the STP’s Middle East correspondent. “Apparently, there is a deal between Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the Syrian regime: keeping Assad in power and dropping the Kurds in return.