Syria, the time of return and the international community
In 2011, Syria became the stage of a war that, in just over 7 years, has left more than half a million dead and forced displacement of 7 million people or so, which now are refugees in 45 countries, including Brazil.
Of this total, 2 million Syrians expressed desire of returning to the now war-torn towns and villages. A desire that demands international support on a grand scale. The situation of the Syrians forced to flee the war has always been far from acceptable.
The restoration of peace in the territories liberated from extremists in the Syrian Arab Republic presents a positive trend and is being strengthened. And this is just the beginning of the process of return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. It is something the great world powers cannot ignore.
The Syrian government is implementing a package of measures to encourage repatriation and to facilitate the reintegration into society of those who wish and need to return. In this sense, it was decided to simplify the control of passports, customs, social and medical assistance services and continuing education and employment assistance services.
Russia has played an important role in normalizing the regional situation, having engaged in direct work with refugees and their return, in negotiations that include other countries.
It turns out that the Russian initiative to organize international assistance for the return of Syrian refugees is confronted with the resistance of the member states of the European Union that insist on imposing a series of political conditions to make it viable. Not always the interests of the Syrians matter more.
In particular, authorities in the Netherlands, Norway, Ireland, Poland, among others, refer to the lack of the necessary conditions for security and a decent life in Syria.
On the other hand, supporting the Russian initiative to return Syrian refugees to their homeland would objectively meet EU interests as for reducing political and financial responsibilities associated with their asylum not only in the countries of the bloc but also in Syria’s neighboring countries.
The use of European Commission funds to accommodate and support Syrian refugees would be much more effective if implemented in projects that facilitate their return. Today, Russia and Syria have the support of Turkey and Lebanon, which actively promote the return of refugees and are committed to cooperate in this task. It is essential that the international community unite around this initiative.
Marcelo Rech is a journalist, international analyst and editor of InfoRel. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.