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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Qatar strongly condemns Syrian regime’s ‘brutal attack’ on Daraa


Qatar has repeatedly refused to normalise with the Assad regime and joined international efforts  to push for a political resolution  in Syria to end terrorism. 

Doha strongly condemned “brutal attacks” launched by Bashar Al-Assad’s forces on Daraa on Sunday, describing the assault as yet another heinous crime.

In a statement published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, authorities said the attack is “an extension of the series of heinous crimes that the regime has been committing against the brotherly Syrian people during the past years”.

The “horrific crimes committed by the Syrian regime” have led to “the displacement of dozens of families, which violates international humanitarian law and requires the international community to act urgently to ensure the protection of civilians, civilian infrastructure, and safe, sustainable and unimpeded access to all those in need,” MoFA said.

The statement echoed Qatar’s position in supporting international efforts “aimed at reaching a political solution to end the Syrian crisis”.

On Sunday, Syrian regime forces escalated attacks on the Daraa al-Balad neighbourhood in the southwest of the country, using machine guns, mortar artillery, tanks and grad missiles.

Read also: Qatar urges ‘specific date’ to complete drafting of new Syria constitution

Sources told Al Jazeera that several civilians were wounded in Al-Sad and Daraa Camp.

The latest developments marked yet another violation of a ceasefire agreement reached just days ago on 1 September to end heavy shelling on the enclave by regime forces, according to Al Jazeera. 

Violent clashes between armed men from Daraa and regime forces were reported in the neighbourhood on Saturday night. The regime gave residents until 4am to evacuate their homes before launching the offensive.

The Negotiation Committee reached out to Russia to facilitate the transportation of people to Turkey and Jordan and on Wednesday, the team managed to reach an agreement with Russia to allow Russian military police and a security committee affiliated with the Syrian regime into the blockaded area to cement a ceasefire. 

Daraa was blockaded by regime forces in June when residents resisted an order to surrender weapons and allow regime forces to search houses in the area.

The neighbourhood is known as the birthplace of the Syrian revolution, which turned quickly morphed into a civil war in 2011 after a fierce crackdown on protesters by the Assad regime. 

Qatar’s role in Syria

Since the re-election of President Bashar Al-Assad, Qatar has renewed its refusal to normalise with the regime as well as its rejection to allow its re-entry into the Arab League.

Despite the 2014 GCC crisis and pressure by neighbouring countries, Qatar’s position and foreign policy on Syria remained unchanged. In 2011, Doha was the first to close its embassy in Damascus – a move that was later replicated by several countries.

Although the Gulf crisis of 2014 was soon resolved, the region was met with yet another dispute in 2017 that led to a significant divide, with countries struggling to unite over the resolution to end the war in Syria.

Although that GCC crisis has now come to an end with the signing of the Al Ula Declaration, Doha has maintained its position on Syria.

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