Syria: regime ‘normalization’ —amid war and hunger


At a closed meeting in Cairo, Arab League foreign ministers on May 7 approved a measure to readmit Syria after more than a decade of suspension—a critical victory for the normalization of Bashar Assad’s genocidal regime. In token acknowledgment of the outstanding state of crisis in Syria, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and the Arab League’s secretary-general are to form a ministerial contact group to liaise with Damascus and seek “step-by-step” solutions. (MEE)

Four days earlier, Iran’s President  Ebrahim Raisi met with Assad in Damascus—the first official visit by an Iranian head of state to Syria since the country’s internal conflict erupted in March 2011. Raisi congratulated Assad on his “victory” in the civil war. Whie Iran has long been Assad’s ally, with a large military footprint in Syria, the visit helped lubricate the regime’s acceptance by other regional governments. (TNH)

Talk of victory, however, cannot mask the reality that Syria’s war is not over. Assad may have retaken most of the country, but various rebel and Kurdish forces still control much of the north. Civilians are still being killed in shelling and other violence. Even before earthquakes devastated large parts of northern Syria three months ago, lingering conflict and a debilitating economic crisis meant deepening hunger. Humanitarian needs in Syria were already at a record high. But amid mounting global crises, the UN-coordinated appeal for Syria in 2023 is only eight percent funded. And food prices are still rising, making it harder still for aid groups to meet the urgent and growing needs of millions of Syrians. (TNH)

Photo: Giovanni Diffidenti/UNICEF via UN News

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