On Wednesday June 21, at 19:30 GMT:
In May, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended the annual Arab League summit for the first time since the country was suspended in 2011 for its brutal and violent crackdown against protesters. While many Arab nations may view normalisation as an essential step towards a political solution for the country’s intractable civil war, some Syrians view the rapprochement as an outright betrayal.
The shift in regional dynamics is top of mind for the millions of Syrian refugees who fear normalisation could mean the acceleration of efforts to force their return. Over 5 million Syrians live in neighbouring countries and despite widespread generosity in welcoming those displaced compared to other parts of the world, in recent years increasingly bold efforts have been made to force their return as domestic political tensions morph into xenophobia against Syrians.
Rights organisations have documented myriad abuses that accompany forced and coerced returns. For those who do return, they often struggle to reclaim their homes from government seizure and face threats of violence and detention.
In this episode we discuss whether or not it’s safe for refugees to return to Syria.
In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Wafa Mustafa @WafaMustafa9
Syrian activist and Fellow at Refugee International
Omar Alshogre @OmarAlshogre
Director of Detainee Affairs, Syrian Emergency Task Force
Marie Forestier @MarieForestier
Senior Syria Advisor, European Institute for Peace