Solution to Syrian crisis lies in democracy: Geoff Brown

KARACHI: Solution to the Syrian crisis lies in democracy, for what the people of Syria have been seen protesting amid the battle of the Great Game’s players, said a Manchester based anti-war and anti-racism activist Prof Geoff Brown.

“Syria, a major centre of world attention where for the last five years the state of Bashar El Assad assisted by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, has been killing its own citizens in barbaric fashion, causing the greatest refugee crisis in Europe in 70 years,” he said while addressing a seminar ‘Understanding the Syrian Crisis: Roots and Effects’ in Federal Urdu University of Arts Science and Technology organized by International Relations department.

He said almost seven million Syrians were internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, 4.5 million others were refugees. Recently, the European Union (EU) had made an agreement with the Turkish government to return refugees from Greece to Turkey, what could be called the Fortress Europe policy.

Describing the cause of Syrian crisis, he said, “The immediate cause of the Syrian crisis is the counter revolution against the uprising in 2011 when a few months after young Syrians inspired by the downfall of President Mubarak,  came on to the streets of Syria. Bashar’s forces soon started killing demonstrators in the summer of 2011 as they came out in their thousands inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen.

“As the demonstrators slowly started to defend themselves, reluctantly taking up guns, so the regime lost control of towns and villages and eventually the commercial centre of Syria, the city of Aleppo. Within those areas freed from control the revolution took the form of new democracies setup by the local population to run their towns and villages. But quickly as the Assad government became ever more brutal so the priority was defending communities.  As the fighting intensified so outside forces became involved and the violence reached new levels,” he said.

Head of Department IR Prof Dr Syed Waseemuddin, Prof Dr Faisal Javed, Prof Dr Mamnoon Hussain, Prof Dr Muhammed Shahabuddin, Prof Dr Asghar Dashti, Prof Shahnawaz Muhammed, Prof Rizwana Jabeen, and a large number of students, teachers and other intellectuals were also present on the occasion.