The final statement of a symposium in which the League of Arab States participated in recommended that all Syrian and Arab efforts should be combined for confronting attempts to change the demographic reality in Syria and for the importance of restoring the Arab role as a support for the Syrian cause and the unity of the Syrian national state.
The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Al-Gheit, the official spokesman for the Secretary-General, Counselor Jamal Rushdi, participated in the symposium organized by the Al-Farabi Center for Studies, Consultations and Training at the Egyptian Cultural Forum in the capital, Cairo, under the title “The Demographic Change in Syria and the Unity of the National State, Dimensions, Implications and Ways of Confronting”.
In addition to the Arab League, the Chairwoman of the Executive Body of the Syrian Democratic Council, Ilham Ahmed, Dr. Medhat Hammad, the Chairman of Al-Farabi Center, and Rami Abdel Rahman, the Director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, participated in the symposium, in addition to ambassadors, former diplomats and retired officers, as well as heads of research and human rights institutions, Professors and journalists.
Sherif Shaheen, the former Egyptian ambassador, and Ayman Aqeel, the head of “Maat” Institution for Peace and Development and Human Rights in which a number of speakers participated in the symposium, including Dr. Ayman Zuhri, an expert on migration studies, a member of the National Council for Human Rights, and Atef Abdel Ghani, an editor-in-chief of Bayan website, an editor-in-chief of October Magazine, Dr. Muhamed Al-Jawhary, a Professor of Finance and Investment at Cairo University, Major General Dr. Shawky Salah, a Professor of Civil Law at the Police Academy, and Dr. Mukhtar Ghabashi, a Professor of International Law and Secretary General of the Higher Academic Commission of Al-Farabi Center.
Also, there were among the attendees, the Head of the Egyptian Socialist Party, Ahmed Bahaa El-Din Shaaban, and the Head of the Egyptian Democratic Union Party, Hasan Turk, the Brigadier General Jamal Najjar and Libyan Ambassador Omar Al-Hamidi and the Head of the Gulf Center for Iranian Studies, Shareef Abdel Hameed.
Recommendations serve as a roadmap for action
The symposium was concluded by agreeing on six recommendations as a roadmap for action to confront the processes of demographic change in Syria.
These recommendations came according to the following order:
Firstly, the call for an intra-Syrian dialogue to discuss the national agenda, provided that it is under the auspices of the League of Arab States.
Secondly, emphasizing the importance of restoring the Arab role as a supportive for the Syrian cause and the unity of the Syrian national state.
Thirdly, the importance of concerted Syrian and Arab efforts for confronting attempts to change the Syrian demographic reality.
Fourthly, the call to emphasize the stability of the principle of the Syrian national state, with the importance of preserving the privacy of religious and ethnic beliefs, and the right to political representation for all in accordance with the principle of equality and political justice.
Fifthly, demanding for the speedy departure of all foreign forces from Syrian territory.
Sixthly, launching an international public relations campaign for the Syrian Democratic Council to address and confront false speeches that attempt to distort the image of the Council and link it abroad, and to develop a clear media discourse for the Council’s orientations and its Syrian national goals.
The Arab League is with the Syrian territorial integrity
“The League is with all those who work for the territorial integrity of Syria, whether they are Arabs or Kurds,” said Jamal Rushdi, the official spokesman for the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.
Counselor Rushdi referred to the Arab League’s decision regarding the demographic change, as it issued a resolution on Syria that is being renewed and includes criticism of any decisions regarding this change and affirming the complete rejection of all demographic changes that represent a violation of international laws and considering that as a threat to the unity of Syria and a threat to security and stability in the region according to the speech of the official spokesman for the Secretary-General of the Arab League.
“The Syrian regime is largely responsible for the demographic change, as half of the Syrian population has become refugees, and the goal is not random, as he described it,” he continued.
He added that the Iranian and Turkish regimes are practicing a systematic policy to change the demographics, which will have an impact in the long term even after the end of the war.
“The Arab East consists of different sectarian and ethnic components, and this internal conflict that was witnessed throughout history is due to kinds of demographic changes, and the change which is taking place in Syria is great, not for Syria, but for the Arab East” the spokesman for the Secretary-General said.
He stressed that “the Syrian crisis is one of the biggest crises, and unfortunately it became a forgotten crisis, as the areas controlled by the regime suffer from a severe economic crisis, and this is something that makes us sad because it makes us believe that Syria will not return to its situation”.
Those involved in the demographic change processes
Dr. Mukhtar Ghabashi, the Professor of International Law and Secretary-General of the Higher Academic Commission of the Al-Farabi Center, addressed the issue of demographic change in Syria from another perspective, saying that the issue is one of the deepest issues on the international and regional scales.
The law professor confirmed that “four countries, along with local organizations make demographic change processes, and at the head of those who carry out this change for political reasons is Turkey, then Iran comes after it, and Russia may come after it, then ISIS or some organizations such as the Free Syrian Army.”
Ghabashi explained that the causes of demographic change are known, especially on the references to the countries we mentioned, as the demographic change represents a change on the identity of some regions, pointing to the intervention of some international parties in this issue, and that the process of normalization in Syria is intended to do that too”.
Journalist Atef Abdel-Ghani, the director of October Magazine, believes that Islamic fighting movements such as ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and Jaysh al-Islam have all participated in the demographic change and in committing sectarian massacres in some areas, and those practices must be condemned in the same way as well.
The participation of the SDC in the symposium
Mrs. Ilham Ahmed, the Chairwoman of the Executive Body of the Syrian Democratic Council, in a participation via “Zoom”, pointed out the political dimensions and repercussions of demographic change, and in turn revealed the parties involved in the process of the demographic change.
Ahmed emphasized the unity of the Syrian territories and their inclusive identity, the importance of preserving the privacy of religious and ethnic beliefs, and the right to political representation for all according to the principle of equality and political justice.
The representative of the Syrian Democratic Council in Egypt, Layla Moussa, addressed the issue of efforts to prevent the process of the demographic change, and that the main goal is to preserve the Syrian territories and sovereignty, and that the structure of the highly centralized regimes has no problem in giving up the Syrian demographic.
Moussa explained that the Syrians believe that the resolution in Syria will be achieved through the Syrian dialogue, but they lack the ability to be independent, stressing that the resolution for the Syrian crisis is a political resolution, not a military one, in addition to believing in the role of the Arab League.