Evacuation deal is Syria’s new moment of shame
Saturday’s terrorist attack in Rashidin in Aleppo, which targeted residents who were being evacuated from the Syrian towns of Foua and Kefraya, shows the deep rift that exists in Syria today.
Residents of Foua and Kefraya are Shiites who support the Assad regime. The displacement was carried out based on what was known as the four towns’ deal.
As part of this deal, the Sunni residents of Zabadani and Madaya near Damascus would be displaced to northwestern Syria, Idlib and other areas, while Shiites in Idlib’s and Aleppo’s countryside would be displaced to West Syria or to what’s regarded by the Syrian regime as “useful Syria.”
In other words, or rather blatantly, it’s a sectarian demographic division and manipulation of the Syrian social map on the basis of identity.
It’s a major crime that kills whatever is left of plurality and spontaneity, which people enjoyed for hundreds of years despite the strife that occurred around them due to domestic or foreign disputes.
The suicide attack against evacuees from Foua and Kefraya killed 112. Most of them were residents and fighters. They were waiting in Rashidin while opposition fighters and residents of Madaya, which is close to Damascus, were waiting at the Ramouseh bus station few miles away.
The plan was to transfer them to Idlib, which is controlled by the armed opposition. According to the four towns’ deal, there are two phases. The first one is to evacuate all residents of Foua and Kefraya whose number is estimated at 16,000 and the second one is to evacuate the residents of Madaya and Zabadani.
The Syrian opposition was right to describe this displacement as a forced displacement of citizens who oppose Assad from major urban centers in West Syria.
What happened to the residents or even fighters of Foua and Kefraya is an obvious crime. A similar attack – God forbid – may target residents and fighters of Madaya and Zabadani as it is expected that the Assad regime and its militias may retaliate.
However, the worst crime here lies in deepening the sectarian divide and altering the country’s geography and manipulating demographic facts according to it.
Displacing Syrian identity
This barbaric demographic division is happening before the eyes of the entire world. It is happening in our era although we thought such displacement and ethnic cleaning have ended during the Middle Ages and with the Spanish Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.
The Syrian regime, the militias affiliated with it, Iranian thugs and Vladimir Putin’s forces combined with al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda and ISIS have sealed the fate of these four towns. They are all partners in destroying the historical and civilized Syrian identity.
The four towns’ deal is a new Syrian shame.