For all the talk about humanitarian assistance and concerns, the wellbeing of refugees remains an afterthought for most officials working on the Syrian crisis.
Reports from activists based in Antakya claim that the Turkish government has begun implementing a recent decision to relocate all Syrian refugees in Hatay Province who refuse to stay in the assigned camps to other provinces. The decision could affect as many 50,000 people, most of whom women and children of rebels and activists who are playing a vital role in delivering supplies to rebel groups in Syria. As such, the decision could have extremely negative repercussions on the course of the Syrian Revolution.
The decision of the Turkish government, some have speculated, seems motivated by fear that pro-Assad infiltrators embedded among the refugees could carry out terrorist attacks in the province where many Alawites of Syrian decent live. Recent bombings in nearby Gaziantep were blamed by Turkish authorities on Kurdish rebel groups sponsored by the Assad regime. Not too long ago, the Assad regime formed the Front for the liberation of Iskandarone (Hatay), a Turkish-controlled province claimed by Syrians. Assad is said to have previously signed a secret deal with the Turkish government relinquishing Syria’s claim to the Province. He has obviously changed his mind. The leader of the Front is said to have made contacts with a number of Syrian rebel groups acting along the borders promising them amnesty and compensations should they join his Front. Turkish authorities might have heard of this development and seem to be concerned.
Turkish authorities, however, might have paid closer attention to the rallies that took place on Saturday featuring thousands of Alawites demanding expulsion of Syrian refugees. Pro-Assad infiltrators seem to have embedded themselves in a more welcoming community than the refugees.
Meanwhile, frustration stemming from the decision to relocate refugees could actually backfire and encourage some rebels to accept the offer extended by the Front. One way or another, Turkey is being drawn into the Syrian conflict. The only choice, it seems, is whether Turkish authorities want the conflict to play out mostly on their territory, or on Syrian territories. So far, they don’t seem to be getting it.
For now, some families of rebels have been given hours to leave Hatay. Also, some refugee camps that straddle the borders came under heavy pounding earlier on Monday, soon after Syrian TV called on refugees to return home.
Rural Damascus – summary executions take place on a daily basis: Kafar Batna http://youtu.be/HHrYAlcpRK8 Arbeen http://youtu.be/sANnjxmu6DE Sometimes bodies are burnt, whether after death or alive, it’s hard to tell, Zamalka http://youtu.be/P2ID3xfhz48 Elsewhere, the pounding keeps claiming lives: Jobar http://youtu.be/OW6RHBnb2IQ
Aleppo City – the pounding of restive suburbs continues: Al-Itha’a http://youtu.be/-9gCK8JBE68
Aleppo Province, El-Bab: fighter jets drop barrels full of explosives on the town http://youtu.be/IbdDag-fkuY People search the rubble for victims http://youtu.be/jbqDdxrxHI0
Deir Ezzor City: people pull the dead from under the rubble http://youtu.be/qH6A434ZMz0
Homs City: the pounding of the old neighborhoods continues http://youtu.be/NKCoLiOZSBE , http://youtu.be/WcRXv3G0rf8
Daraa, Tafas: summary executions http://youtu.be/d99rm6-TAdg , http://youtu.be/dRMACiJw2PY , http://youtu.be/Qg8eEsWfpLo , http://youtu.be/QBiC6mqccwM