The head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria, Marwan Hamza to SOHR: Syrians are weary and the crisis weighs on everyone
Although most of the crimes and violations against the Syrian people have been documented, egregious human rights violations and war crimes against civilians are still ongoing in Syria, while the United States seeks to pressure the regime through “Caesar Act” .
Marwan Hamza, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria, spoke to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights about the humanitarian and human rights situation in Syria, considering that the return of demonstrations in some Syrian provinces, including Suweida, came as a result of the disastrous conditions, adding that “Suweida has become the starting point of a popular uprising, driven by people’s living conditions and suffering, without any political or sectarian polarization”.
Hamza said that the demonstrations are the result of the country’s failed economic situation in all directions, as “the decline of the local currency against the dollar and the rise in prices to record levels have impacted low-income people in particular”. Hamza blamed the regime for the failure of economic policies, which have deepened cronyism and loyalty. “The demonstrations in Suweida and elsewhere, which have been met with excessive force by the regime, will not be able to bring down the regime, no matter how much they mobilize, because of the regime’s stubborn policies,” the head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria said.
The Syrian opposition politician does not expect any breakthrough in the situation in Syria in the foreseeable future, pointing out that the situation will worsen further as the Syrian pound continues to fall against the dollar and the decline in the purchasing value of it. Hamza predicted “a dark future for the situation completely”.
Hamza feels that the regional and international conflict has completely dominated the situation, pointing out that there are those who are trading the Syrian issue abroad, while with the regime’s attempt to silence the opposition at home so that it does not succeed in imposing its own agenda. “The crisis will last until a Russian-U.S.-Turkish-Israeli political agreement is finalized,” he added.
Marwan Hamza said that all the cards to resolve the crisis are in the hands of the United States “which, if it wishes to resolve the issue, but it seems that the U.S. position on the Syrian issue is aimed at disrupting all the means of finding a resolution”. The head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria accused Israel of seeking to dismantle Syria and exhaust its economy, as it “does not want a strong, independent, safe and successful neighbour,” adding that it is “working to turn Syria into the next Somalia”.
“If elections were to be held in Syria in accordance with the current reality, the current regime would have a virtual credit for fraud in the absence of international control, and will win because its party systems and security agencies are able to change any outcome that may be not good for the regime,” Hamza said, adding that the regime seeks to thwart any success of the Constitutional Commission that could lead to structural changes to the regime. On the family rivalry between Rami Makhlouf and the regime, the human rights activist says that this would not affect the elections, as all the cards are in Assad’s hands.
On the economic level, the Syrian human rights activist thinks that everyone is suffering from the scourge of the war that has been going on in the country for 10 years, and the economic situation has become difficult and weighs heavily on everyone, but perhaps the Caesar Act and its effects on the exchange rate of the Syrian pound, force all parties to take action after they reached a very difficult material situation.
Hamza said the United States has reviewed this Act and how to protect Syrian citizens, noting that “punishing the regime in this way will not only affect it,” as the salaries of first-grade employees “are now equivalent to less than $30 a month, which means that citizens have to live on less than a dollar a day, if they are alone”, adding that Caesar Act would harm the Syrian people.
Mr Hamza thinks that the Act provides the United States with the means to help end the terrible and ongoing conflict in Syria by strengthening the cause of the regime’s accountability, saying it “holds those responsible for the large-scale deaths of civilians and the many atrocities in Syria”.
Hamza added that the current statistics suggest that more than 85 percent of Syria’s population suffers from poverty and that their food security is threatened, and although Caesar sanctions exclude food, medicine and medical supplies, the decline of the Syrian pound has made it impossible for the vast majority of Syrians to buy these items, especially since the average wages of Syrians are currently less than $30 per month.
“What will it be like after the pound declines again and the average wage is only $6 or $7? Moreover, sanctions may prevent many parties from exchanging food and medical supplies with Syria, although they are theoretically exempted from sanctions, for fear of inadvertently violating sanctions,” Hamza said.
According to Hamza, Syrians have reached a level of exhaustion that such sanctions are difficult without a clear goal and plan that will lead to real changes, and if the sanctions will lead to the regime’s displacement and turn the country into a political transition, this will only come through a political decision that seems to be impossible and lacking seriousness, and economic sanctions alone cannot achieve.
Hamza pointed to numerous UN reports warning of the situation of displaced people in north-western Syria, calling it “dangerous”, accusing Russia, America and Turkey of “disrupting the introduction of humanitarian aid”. He also accused the regime of manipulating humanitarian aid, which is largely paid to its supporters, so that there is little left for the displaced, calling on international organizations to oversee the distribution of aid and contribute to its access to its beneficiaries in every region of Syria. He added that no state that has experienced conditions like what has been happening in Syria for 10 years can maintain a good economy as well as the Syrian regime is constantly talking about, with the aim of denying the visible economic deterioration.
“Although sanctions will not stop the ongoing violations, arrests and prosecutions, they will strain the regime and make its economy worse, especially since it is tired of the war it is still fighting, and it can be dragged into a political solution that suits the United States,” Hamza said.
The Head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights in Syria criticized the absence of Arab and international human rights organizations on Syrian territory, noting that the regime did not allow any licenses and that the work of human rights for the regime was the most dangerous. Mr Hamza stresses that “as an unlicensed organization and there is no licensing law in Syria for civil and humanitarian organizations, it is difficult for us to fully know our work, especially with regard to documenting various violations”.
“This includes detainees, enforced exiles and abductees, whether in the recognized prisons or the secret ones, in the prisons of Islamic State and extremist groups, or those who are kidnapped for material purposes,” Hamza said. He also expressed regret for the lack of accurate documentation of detainees in Syria as a whole, noting that “it is difficult for us to communicate with the members of the organization in the areas besieged by the conditions of war, given that as an organization we do not have any external support or funding”.