May 15, 2006

Welcome to Syria

Posted in Middle East at 7:15 pm by greatparanoiac

iraq_syria border.jpg

Hussain with mother & grandmother on Iraq/Syria border last October. Courtesy: CPT 

Last month I wrote a post on the lack of support for Palestinians from their Arab neighbors. It was in response to a Human Rights Watch report that Jordan wouldn’t allow Iraqi Palestinians to cross the border into their country; despite many Palestinians being targetted and killed by insurgents in Iraq.

Today Human Rights Watch reported that the Syrian government had admitted 244 Palestinian refugees who had been stranded at the Jordanian border, as well as another group of around 40 who fled to Syria directly from Baghdad. 

 “Syria has stepped forward to protect a particularly vulnerable group of refugees. Some of the refugees had seen their relatives and friends brutalized and murdered in Iraq,” said said Bill Frelick, Refugee Policy director for Human Rights Watch, who visited the refugees in their makeshift camp on the Iraqi side of the Jordanian border on April 30.

This will add to the 425,000 Palestinian refugees HRW reports that Syria is hosting. Not to mention just as many Iraqis who have fled their country since the war but are not formally recognized as refugees.

Hmmm….fellow cynics are probably also questioning President Bashar al-Asad’s motive. Could this humanitarian act also serve to draw attention away from the Syrian government recently arresting and detaining human rights activists?

I’m just putting the information out there. Syria’s human rights record is poor–ask the Kurds who are treated like second-class citizens. In addition to arresting activists, the government also has collected information and detained more prominent member of civil society who oppose the government. 

For more information on the Syrian Kurds meeting with the European Parliament for talks on safeguarding their rights, take a look at today’s post on The Syria Monitor.

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