Syria: Call for the European Union and the international community to protect minorities and the democratic movement
The Syrian revolution that began as peaceful protests against a dictatorship in March 2011, has changed into a proxy civil war. While Russia, Iran, the Iraqi regime, and Hezbollah are supporting the Assad regime, other forces like the Arabian countries in the Persian Gulf, Turkey, and other Sunni countries, are supporting the armed rebels. This way there is no role left for the peaceful democratic opposition, instead the Islamist groups and movements who are trying to apply Islamic law and establish an Islamic state are the ones who are active and in charge on the ground.
Chaos is currently threatening the only territories which are relatively peaceful. After the withdrawal of the regime’s officials, security services and military forces from the Kurdish territories, the Kurds have become in charge of running their land, defending it and protecting the civilians; they successfully kept peace and quiet in their territories amongst the war’s chaos. However, forces within the Syrian opposition are trying, by any means possible, to prevent the success of the Kurds running their own territories. As what happened a few months ago, when an attack took place on the city of Seré Kaniyé (Ras Ala’yn) by armed fundamentalist Muslim groups. Also the Turkish government has closed down its borders and is not allowing any international aid organizations or any human aid to cross. All of this has added to the pain of suffering of the people living there, and has also led to terrible living conditions in these Kurdish areas due to serious lack of the basics, especially fresh water, food, medical supplies, fuel and electricity.
The area was majorly influenced by this compared to other areas, because it was, like other Kurdish territories, neglected by the regime for decades, based on the discriminatory ruling Ba’ath Party policies. So in normal conditions, people used to suffer from poor basic services and infrastructure. Now, during war and siege, the area is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. To prevent this, the international community, especially the European Union, should increase efforts to protect minorities, especially the Kurds, who have suffered from decades of persecution, suppression and deprivation of their basic human rights, for having the ambition to create a democratic, secular, and federal state in Syria.
The international community, especially the European Union, should also apply pressure on Turkey to open their borders and allow international aid and humanitarian organizations to go into the Kurdish areas and help people. Now that the Kurds could keep peace and quiet in their territories, the international aid organizations are focusing on other parts of the country. But humanitarian help shouldn’t be for only one group of people, it should be fairly distributed to all. But so far, no aid has reached Kurdish territories, where the situation is catastrophic.
In addition, refugees should not be deported back to Syria. Western countries should take their responsibilities towards the people who flee from the hell of war, to accept them when reaching their lands and ease their travel restrictions. Instead of arming the extremists, democratic forces should be supported and their role should be amplified. The Kurds should also be supported and their local government structures should be developed and trained so they could work on keeping peace and rebuild their territories more efficiently.
Yasa - Kurdish Centre for Studies and Legal Consultancy
Photo: Syrian Kurds raise flags of Kurdistan and Syria showing support for the revolution. Credit: Freedom House.