The Syrian American Council, America's largest and oldest grassroots Syrian community organization, is proud to announce the release of "No Going Back: Forced Displacement in the Syrian Conflict," a new report on sectarian cleansing by the Assad regime and its allies. The report marks perhaps the first attempt to quantify the scale of sectarian cleansing and highlights the need for urgent measures to avoid a long-term Syrian refugee crisis that outlasts the war. Safe zones and sanctions on Iranian proxies are some of the measures advocated to reverse ongoing sectarian displacement trends.
The report comes at a crucial time soon after the forced displacements of eastern Aleppo and Wadi Barada and as issues of Syrian refugees, U.S.-Iranian tensions, and safe zones feature more prominently in the news. In an op-ed that The Hill published today, Shlomo Bolts, the author of the report, explains why action against Iran's proxies in Syria can be a promising avenue to help Syrian refugees return to safety. In total, the report estimates that some three million Syrians could be permanently displaced unless urgent action is taken to reverse the sectarian cleansing that has already occurred.
"The number of Syrians permanently displaced by sectarian cleansing is high enough to replicate the ongoing refugee crisis twice over," said Bolts, a Policy and Advocacy Officer at the Syrian American Council. "This means that the Syrian refugee crisis could continue for decades if the conflict ends with Assad and Iran in control of former protest centers. Assad must leave power and Iran's foreign fighters must leave Syria in order to have a real chance for peace and long-term stability in the region."