The Assad regime has issued a decree aiming to complete one of the largest ethnic cleansing campaigns since the end of the Second World War. The key to Assad’s plan is codifying in law the massive dispossession of millions of Syria’s Sunnis. Those who started the rebellion against Assad in 2011 were Sunnis inspired by the Arab Spring. To reduce the influence of Sunnis in Syria, the Assad regime killed about 420,000 Sunni civilians (the war’s 500,000 death toll includes about 80,000 combatants on all sides), and systematically destroyed the infrastructure of Sunni towns, villages, and neighborhoods, forcing more than 11 million Sunnis out of their homes (5.6 million Syrians have fled the country, and 6.1 million have been internally displaced). Assad’s latest decree is viewed as essentially the last step in the regime’s ethnic cleansing campaign.
Since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began, 5.6 million Syrian have fled the country, and 6.1 million have been internally displaced. Sunnis comprise the vast majority of these refugees and internally displaced persons. They have been expelled from their homes as part of a master plan by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, whose family is a member of the minority Alawite sect, to use the war to change the demographic composition of Syria.
There were an estimated 23.5 million people living in Syria before the war, of which 87 percent were Muslims – 74 percent Sunnis (17,400,000) and 13 percent Shi’ites and Alawites (3,000,000).
With about 5 million Sunnis fleeing Syria, the percentage of Sunnis, in a population which has shrunk to an estimated 18 million, has dropped to 64 percent (12,000,000) while the percentage of Shi’ites and Alawites has increased to 17 percent.
Nearly half of Syria’s Sunni population – an estimated 6,000,000 out of about 12,000,000 – has been internally displaced.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that Syrian war refugees face property losses under a reconstruction decree issued by President Bashar Assad. The German Foreign Ministry is angry over what it described as Assad’s “perfidious” plan.
Germany has called on the UN, and has urged Russia, Assad’s ally, to block the new law.
The new decree says that Syrians will have only thirty days to document property ownership in the war-ravaged country after the release of any new urban rebuilding plan
The Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and Dusseldorf’s Rheinische Post (RP) report today (Friday) that “Decree Number 10,” issued on 4 April, aims to make it nearly impossible for the estimated 11,000,000 Sunnis who have either fled Syria or who are now internally displaced to reclaim their property.
The 5 million Syrians who have fled the country will have to go back to Syria, which is now under Assad’s control, and the internally displaced persons will have to go back to their ruined towns and villages.