Death foretold: The fate of Syria’s southern citizens
Jordan has reiterated its refusal to receive additional Syrian refugees as a result of the brutal bombardment by the Syrian regime on Hauran in southern Syria. Israel has also refused to receive any refugees.
It would be wrong to consider these Jordanian and Israeli stances as sovereign political decisions. Here, two UN members have responsibilities under international humanitarian law, and the reception of refugees fleeing danger is not a favor from any government.
The host country can call on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities toward those fleeing murder, but the primary responsibility is to protect the refugees, both economically and in the procurement of places of refuge. The complete denial of refugee protection is a violation of international humanitarian law and is tantamount to a direct contribution to their killing, especially when it is ascertained they have no other means of survival.
The lack of international reaction has connotations of complicity; a trade-off of silence in exchange for not opening up a new page in the refugee crisis that could later end up in the West. Here we should not ignore the fact that the interests of the international community coincide with the interests of Bashar Assad. When the latter kills more Syrians, he is implementing his plan and that of his allies to get rid of his opponents. At the same time, this does not cost the international community the trouble of receiving more refugees.
Today, the south of Syria is being destroyed and the people openly slaughtered before the eyes of the world — with the complicity of the US and Israel
Stronger international pressure could have deterred Assad’s savagery, and the decision to keep him in power could have passed with less Syrian blood. The Syrians initially bet on mobilizing humanitarian feelings because of the horrors of genocide and destruction committed by Assad, but the compromises have always been at their expense.
Today, the south of Syria is being destroyed and the people openly slaughtered before the eyes of the world — with the complicity of the US and Israel — by the explosive barrel bombs of the Assad regime and Russian warplanes. Safe havens are closed in front of the people on the Jordanian and Israeli borders, while Lebanon is trying to return the refugees it is hosting back to Syria.
Assad could not have dared to bombard Daraa and the Syrian south without tacit Israeli approval. This was what Israel had previously opposed, warning that Iran’s revolutionary guards should not come close to its borders. That is why the Syrian regime did not dare to approach the south. While there was an international regional settlement that prevented the Assad regime from getting closer to the Israeli border, today it seems that another deal has been reached. This reality is reminiscent of what Syria announced at the beginning of the revolution in 2011: That its security is part of Israel’s security.
This may be a summary of the Syrian disaster during the last seven years. It has finally turned out as if we are in a scene reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Chronicle of a Death Foretold,” where all the villagers are silent about a terrible crime they knew would take place. Today the world knows where the Russian and Iranian killers, with their militias and the regime’s army, are heading: To obliterate this part of Syria and its entire people.
The Syrian revolution started in the south. Now attempts are being made to annihilate the remaining opposition and bring back Assad’s rule with Iranian, Israeli and Russian blessing.
- Diana Moukalled is a veteran journalist with extensive experience in both traditional and new media. Twitter: @dianamoukalled