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Syrian Circassians facing genocide?2012-01-11 16:14
Representatives of the Syrian diasporas in the Caucasus are seeking salvation in their historical motherland. Abkhaz MFA and head of the Republic of Adygeya have already voiced their intention to accept the fellow countrymen. Meanwhile, their repatriation is seriously hampered by Mukhabarat, Syrian counterintelligence. The situation seems to be more than strange, for the Syrian Circassians have provided support to both the ruling Assads: Hafez the father and Bashar the son.
All Caucasian natives are traditionally called Circassians in Syria. They mostly descend from the migrants of XIX century who became lieges of the Ottoman Empire. Circassians used to defend the Near-East interests of Porta. After its disruption they started providing military and police support to Arab states. The swirl of Arabian revolutions swallowed the Caucasian communities of the Near East as well. Now Circassians have got one essential question: what to choose, life or death? And they seek help in their historical motherland.
At the end of last year, Syrian Circassians-Adygeis wrote to Russia, while Syrian Abkhaz sent a petition to Sukhum. The Kabardians and Balkarians living in Syria also applied for help. The message is actually the same: please, save us from death!
The World Congress of the Abkhaz-Abazin People sent a letter to Bashar Assad on December 29. The appeal signed by a well-known public activist Beslan Kobahia described the Circassians' contribution to the history of SAR. It is not just the military aspect; many Circassians work as doctors, economic experts, teachers and businessmen. The World Congress of the Abkhaz People asked Assad to do everything possible to "prevent the tragedy in respect of Circassians", for instance, by helping them return to their native land.
In all appearances, though, Assad himself does not feel great sympathy for Circassians. Moreover, an appeal to fellow countrymen immediately attracted the attention of Mukhabarat - the Syrian secret service. According to the evidence from Syria, the authors of the open letters to the native country are being pressed and called traitors. "The authorities never forgive such things. Many got frightened after several signatories were interrogated by Mukhabarat. Some Circassians had to hide".
The letters obviously created tension in the Syrian Circassians' native country as well. According to a source, head of Kabardino-Balkaria Arsen Kanokov suspended the process of considering the appeals from Syria and asked "not to give him any other letters on the matter".
The situation is puzzling, to put it mildly. Mukhabarat is pressing Circassians, the long-standing supporters of the Assads' ruling regime, and does not let them come back home. Circassians are between the devil and the deep sea: the opposition is chasing them as "the Assad's accomplices", while Mukhabarat - as potential rebels.
GTimes put its questions to the experts.
Beslan Kobakhia, Advisor to President of the World Congress of the Abkhaz-Abazin People: