Assad will never allow displaced to return
Sir, – I am afraid Joe McCarthy (April 20th) is misled about the nature of the Assad regime in Syria and the possibility of the displaced ever returning home.
Assad’s savagery and the tens of thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity he and his allies – Russia, Iran and Hizbullah – have perpetrated are very well documented. Some 67,000 people have been displaced in the past month, alone, joining 11 million already forced from home. Syria was a land of silence, secret police, detention, torture and execution of anyone even slightly dissident before 2011. Now it is a land of terror. The “leaking” of a list of over 1.5 million Syrians wanted by Assad ensures that none of those or their families can ever return while he holds power. Meanwhile Assad has just passed a law which allows the state to confiscate the property of the displaced unless they register it in person in the next few weeks. Now the property of over half the population will be seized and dispersed to Baathist loyalists and the 200,000 Iranians granted Syrian passports. Assad has no intention of ever allowing the majority of the displaced to return. This is his “mission accomplished”.
Diplomacy has offered the Syrian population no protection whatsoever. The UN is completely disempowered by Russia’s veto. Diplomacy to have a chance of any success must be accompanied by the severest financial penalties against members of the Syrian, Russian and Iranian regimes carrying out war crimes. The West, and specifically Ireland and the EU, must sanction the wealthy elite of the Russian, Syrian and Iranian regimes, even where this requires some temporary sacrifice on our part. Syrians must be provided with refuge until such time as Syria is safe for them to return to, which is the fervent wish of most Syrians, and which will never be the case under the Assad regime. – Yours, etc,