President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) Nasr Al-Hariri, sent a legal memorandum to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and President of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkır, regarding the situation of Syrian refugees around the world.
Al-Hariri said that “more than 13.5 million, most of them children and women displaced between areas of displacement and countries of asylum, whereas Syrian refugees constitute more than a third of all refugees in the world.”
“We affirm that forced displacement with the aim of changing demographics is one of the basic strategies adopted by the Assad regime and announced starting in 2011, in order to get rid of its opponents, or those who might be in the ranks of its opponents, and in order to replace them with others.”
Al-Hariri added: “The facts confirm that revenge against the Syrian people is not just a goal of the ruling authority in Syria as it is a mechanism that it adopts to change the demography, using a set of planned behaviors, alternating and repeated.”
“The Assad regime seeks to narrow the opportunities and motives for the return of refugees, by seizing their homes and properties, and by trying to legitimize this through judicial decisions of seizure and confiscation issued against them in a way that complicates the scene, and changes the economic, social and political balances in Syria and the region, in a way that impedes the right of return,” he added.
He also said that “the same results and systematic behavior appear in the PYD – YPG / PKK-controlled areas, where nearly two million of its displaced people are still outside it.”
“We affirm that the Syrian refugees yearn to return, and adhere to their right to do so, and await the day their areas are liberated from the authorities of tyranny and terrorism, so that they return.”
“We refer to four hundred and fourteen thousand and sixty-nine Syrians (414,069) people who have already returned to the northern regions of Syria after their liberation from the regime and terrorist militias. We recall the efforts of the Syrian National Coalition and its interim government in this regard, and we appreciate the support of the Turkish Republic, and a number of friendly countries in these regions.”
Al-Hariri also said that “we affirm that the stay of the resident Syrians, and the return of refugees to our liberated areas, requires international assistance to the Syrian National Coalition and its interim government in logistical implementation of projects to support stability, provide humanitarian needs, and protect the people from repeated terrorist bombings committed to destabilizing security and peace and impede our efforts to build adequate standards for rule of Law.”
“We warn that some parties try to circumvent international standards and propose projects to return refugees to regime-held areas, with the aim of achieving political and economic gains.”
He called for “entering our memo in the documents of the General Assembly and circulating it among the missions of the member states and approaching the solution of the refugee crisis through serious and productive work to achieve a complete and real political transition in Syria, in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué, Security Council Resolutions 2118 and 2254, General Assembly Resolution 67/262 and other relevant resolutions.”
He stressed “rejecting refugee return projects before reaching a political solution, and providing the safe and neutral environment necessary for voluntary return. Real pressure on the regime, Russia and Iran to stop their hostile attacks on Idlib and their return to the borders of the four de-escalation zones, specified in the memorandum of understanding concluded in Astana, so that the people of the areas from which they were displaced can return to it.”
Furthermore, Al-Hariri called for an “initiate an international campaign to support the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria. Initiate measures to ensure accountability for perpetrators of violations and prevent impunity for the Assad regime, Russia and Iran.”
He also called for respect the 1951 Geneva Convention regarding refugees, treat arrivals in transit countries according to its provisions, and stop violating their rights in some countries, and from exerting any pressure on them to push them to forcible return.
He also called for “equity for refugee victims by compensating them financially and morally for the physical and psychological damage they suffered as a result of the actions of elements of those countries.” (Source: SOC’s Media Department)