Friday, 11 March 2016
Five years on
Five years on since it was first said in the southern city of Daraa, “the people want the regime to fall.” A sentence that led to the arrest and torture of Hamza Al-Khateeb and his teenager friends and subsequently the eruption of nationwide anti-government protests that turned to a full-scale civil war.
A war that witnessed the killing of Ghiath Matar, Ibrahim Qashoush and Mashaal Tammo, and has ripped the country apart, killing more than 250,000 Syrians and forcing more than 11 million others from their homes. A conflict that is now more than just a battle between the Assad’s regime and the rebels. Violence, war crimes and the use of chemical weapons have been familiar news while the rise of so-called Islamic State has added another dimension to it. This in turn opened the door for UK, Russian and US-led strikes in Syria, and the fleeing of more than 5 million people, mostly women and children, across the borders to become one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history.
Throughout the last 5 years, Syria has become a playground for international forces’ power fight and interference. The lack of sustainable international community support made most Syrian feels that they have been let down by everyone. This has created deep sectarian and ethnic tensions and divisions among the different groups, fragmented and weakened the opposition, and encouraged the rise of hard-line Islamist and jihadi groups. This also increased the pressure on the ill-treated Kurdish community which has been suffering for decades from the dictatorial Assad’s regime, in their struggle for their rights and identity. In the absence of leadership, Kurds are doing what everyone else is doing in Syria—looking after their own interest.
In addition, the lack of communication and understanding over the Kurdish issue has entrenched outdated propaganda that accuses Kurds of separation. Kurds, therefore, see a danger that a political solution in the current climate could ease the ongoing conflict but ignite a new one for them, putting at risk the inclusive values and purposes of the Syrian revolution.
We in Kurds House, call for all involved parties to make civilians’ protection their urgent priority, and help in stopping the war and establishing peace. This will be achieved by stopping the Assad’s killing machine and starting building a post-Assad Syria that puts human rights at the heart of all future planning. A future that breaks the legacy of decades of rooted patterns of human rights violations and promotes mutual respect, democracy and freedom of speech.
Dr Peshang Abdulhannan and Dr Mohammad Tammo
Kurds House UK
Kurds House website: www.kurdshouse.org, on Twitter: @kurdshouse, on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KurdsHouse.
Syrians and their supporters will join together in London on 12th March to mark the 5th anniversary of the Syrian revolution. The demonstration assembles 12 noon at Paddington Green, London W2.