(Photo Credit: Reuters)
Syrian Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad said on 20 October that Russia has played an instrumental role in helping Damascus secure the appropriate conditions for the return of migrants and refugees to the war-torn nation.
“Russia’s cooperation in this field has been a catalyst for the return of large numbers [of refugees],” Mikdad said during the joint meeting of the Syrian and Russian delegations in Damascus on Thursday.
He added that efforts made by Syria and friendly countries are still clashing with some parties using this humanitarian crisis to achieve political goals that have nothing to do with the interests of Syrians.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recorded the return of nearly 450,000 internally displaced persons in 2020 to areas controlled by the Syrian government.
Mikdad believes the west is violating international law and the Charter of the UN, which he says has resulted in instability in the world and left catastrophic effects on all countries.
Since 2011, Turkey has been the most prominent destination for those fleeing the war in Syria. According to the latest official tally, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey is close to four million, while the actual number is believed to exceed that.
The presence of Syrian refugees in Turkey constitutes an ongoing debate between the political parties in Turkey, with rising anti-migrant sentiment brewing.
Observers believe these parties are using the refugee crisis as electoral propaganda ahead of general elections next summer.
However, with the noticeable rise in nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiment, the Turkish president announced earlier this year a plan to “resettle” one million Syrian refugees in the areas of northern Syria under the control of Turkey.
A report by Amnesty International alleges that Syrian security forces subject many returning men and women to illegal detention, accusing them of belonging to the opposition.
Damascus has drawn up a protocol for the return called the “reconciliation system” and stipulated that those wishing to return to Syria, especially opponents or those coming from anti-government areas, must sign a “reconciliation document.”