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Assad signs a new law hat institutionalizes displacement

April 19 · Issue #86 · View online
MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq.

Key developments
  • Turkey has rejected Russia’s appeal that it should hand over Afrin to the Assad regime.
  • Note that both the Kurdish PYD and YPG did not blame the Assad regime for the Duma attacks. Somehow abandoned by the US and Russia, they seek to avoid alienating Assad. 
  • Talking about Duma: All of you are familiar with the “There has to be an independent investigation!-"headlines. And yes, that would be great. The reality is different, though. The short version: 1. Russia claims there hasn’t been a chemical attack at all 2. Russia claims that rebels conducted a false-flag operation with chemicals they brew in their underground labs 3. Russia calls for an OPCW investigation (the very institution it effectively banned from Syria last year) 4. Russia and the Assad regime delay the access of the investigators due to security concerns. Meanwhile, some journalists are allowed to visit Duma. Some of them spread further conspiracy theories. 5. A UN security team tries to scout the area. "Someone” opens fire on them. There is also an explosion. 6. The independent investigators are still not allowed to enter Duma. Possible evidence? Byebye. More than 10 days are enough to clean up and intimidate witnesses. 
  • All that has happened before. Its a pattern. And it illustrates that institutionalized international mechanism’s simply do not work in the case of Syria. That doesn’t mean that unilateral action is a good thing per se, but it leads to the realisation that there is nothing like “justice” if we only put our trust in the UN institutions and international law. 
  • It is a pattern that allows the brutal displacement of civilians. After Duma, the nearby town of Dumayr has surrendered. More than 5.000 people will be deported to the north. Meanwhile, Russian and regime airstrikes hit hard on the Rastan pocket in northern Homs. What is concerning is that the displacement campaign is supported and institutionalized by new laws. You find a summary below.
Articles worth reading
With New Law, Assad Tells Syrians Not to Come Home
The True Story of al-Qaeda’s Demise and Resurgence in Syria
The chemical weapons attack is a critical moment to push for a political settlement in Syria
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