Statement on the forced displacement of Syrian citizens from the village of Um Batneh in Al-Quneitra
Idlib, 25 May 2021 – In recent days, the Syrian Association for Citizen’s Dignity (SACD) has monitored the painful events that led to the displacement of Syrian citizens from the village of Um Batneh in al-Quneitra to northern Syria. SACD was keen on closely following up on the situation with the aim of compiling accurate information from eyewitnesses, and those directly involved, in order to understand the reasons behind their displacement from their original place of residence, as well as the circumstances that led to their arrival to northern Syria.
As such, SACD has reach the following conclusions:
- These families were displaced as a result of the Iranian military operations in the region that targeted them. After those families left their village due to the bombing, the Iranian forces prevented them from returning and arrested women and young men, and conditioned the release of these detainees upon their displacement with their families to northern Syria.
- The convoy of the displaced was stopped for more than 24 hours at Abu Al-Zindein crossing for unclear reasons, where they were exposed to conditions which are not appropriate for people who have been forcibly displaced.
- The total number of displaced people is between 120-135 Syrians, who were eventually forcibly displaced to Idlib.
Accordingly, the Syrian Association for Citizen’s Dignity:
- Strongly condemns the forced displacement carried out by the Iranian forces against the Syrians in the village of Um Batneh firstly by bombing the village and then arresting and extorting some of its residents. This amounts to a war crime as it comes as part of the Iranian scheme for demographic change in Syria.
- Denounces the way in which some factions of the Syrian National Army (SNA) treated the displaced who have reached the northern countryside of Aleppo, condemns how some SNA security members opened fire on the protesters who demanded to shelter the displaced and end their plight, and rejects the assaults on some activists, including an attempt to kidnap, at least, two of them.
- And finally, reaffirms that the crime of forced displacement against the Syrian people continues in Syria, and that the only solution to end the waves of internal displacement and asylum is to create a safe environment for all Syrians. However, given that this safe environment does not currently exist, the Syrian people must work together to ease the suffering of the displaced and to help establishing an environment for them to be treated with dignity.
Cover photo: Russian military vehicles escort the forcibly displaced from Um Batinah (Social Media)