Members of the Syrian Coalition expressed hope that the UNICEF’s decision to make redundant hundreds of Syrian teachers in the Za’tari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan would not be part of a policy aimed at forcing Syrian refugees to leave the countries where they had taken refuge.
The UN’s children agency decided to fire as many as 675 Syrian teachers working in 29 schools inside the Za’tari camp. The teachers were informed of the decision at a meeting held on Tuesday.
Secretary of the Coalition’s political committee Riad al-Hassan said that such decision risked increasing the pressure Russia is exercising on Syrian refugees to force them to return to regime-held areas. The decision also contravened international covenants and resolutions on Syria which underscored that the return of refugees must be voluntary in a safe, stable environment.
“The Assad regime has unleashed its monsters on the streets to kill, arrest, torture and even burn people alive,” Hassan said.
Hassan stressed that the security situation in Syria is chaotic, adding that “Russia is unable to ensure the safety of returnees.” He also said that the Assad regime lost control of the situation on the ground, especially of the Iranian-backed militias which are deployed everywhere in Syria.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee and Head of the Refugees Department, Amal Sheikho, stressed that the return of refugees to the regime-held areas amid rampant field executions, arbitrary detention, and enforced disappearance put the lives of returnees at huge risk.
Sheikho called on the international community and human rights organizations to oppose these plans, defend the rights of Syrian refugees, and protect them from the grim fate that awaits them in case they were forced to return to the regime-held areas.
According to UN estimates, there are 6.1 million internally displaced people in Syria and 5.5 million more in neighboring countries, Europe, Canada and other countries. Children and women account for about 70 percent of the total number of displaced people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)