Help refugees return to Syria

Friday, February 17, 2017

Help refugees return to Syria

The media have been informing us about the so called “Balkan route” still being closed. Some of the EU countries call for a strict control of the external border. ECPM Interim President and MEP Branislav Škripek however still says that this solution is not sufficient. He suggests stabilization of the Middle East situation is a precursor for helping hundreds of thousands of refugees return to their homeland. 

Branislav Škripek supports the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, which unites 3 self-governing cantons. This system is based on democratic principles and it guarantees equal rights for all ethnic and religious minorities. Mr Škripek has been accompanied by a Syriac political representative Metin Rhawi during his last visit to the Syrian canton of Rojava. They met again in Brussels this week.  

Mr Rhawi informed him about the current situation in Syria. Military operations for the liberation of Iraqi Mosul and Syrian Rakka continue. After the meeting, Branislav Škripek said: “Especially in Northern Syria, in spite of the fact they are poorly armed, they have managed to effectively push away Daesh forces from their territory. Even daughters fight side by side with their own mothers, laying down their lives for their freedom. Up to the present day they have managed to liberate around 400 villages or settlements from under the atrocious occupation of Daesh. The liberated territories are the foundation for the future return of the refugees,” says Branislav Škripek. 

Flexible solidarity with the refugees 
The Slovak presidency of the European Union has brought a brand new term into the discussion about the refugee crisis – the so-called 'flexible solidarity'. Mr Škripek explains: "I would much rather see 'flexible enthusiasm' at the hotspot accompanied by our aid workers. If we receive the mandate, then accompanied with our military help, tens or hundreds of thousands of refugees would have the possibility to return to their homeland: the liberated territory of Northern Syria. They want to return because their homes, properties, fields and the graves of their ancestors are still there. Their contribution would be crucial to the rebuilding of a new federative Syria.” International recognition is necessary. This is one of the reasons why the Syriac Friendship Group was founded in the European Parliament. This group has representatives from four of the biggest political groups in the European Parliament.  

“I would like to appeal to European leaders as well as to the high representatives of the EU to help the Syrians to return to their homeland. In the beginning, they would need the military escort. Later on, the financial support for the restoration of their country and homes would be necessary. Therefore it is very important that Syriac Christians, Iraqi Turkmens and Yezidi in Iraq will have a common autonomy and their own protection forces and areas in Iraq. Different European national forces have experience with peacekeeping missions."

"I believe that this is the way in which we can help to stabilize the situation in Syria together. And if the current hard-won peace will strengthen further, then the population would have no reason to run away to Europe or to other countries,” Branislav Škripek concludes.

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