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Will Russia save Circassians from death?28.12.2011 | 21:46
Representatives of the Circassian diaspora in Syria ask for help. Having faced with the threat of civil war, they cherish the hope to settle in Russia. Syrian Circassians say that now they genuinely want to return to their historic homeland and "live in peace and harmony with the people of Russia". Will the "land of the ancestors" receive these people and save them from inevitable tragedy? GTimes' reporter spoke about this with the head Adygea A. Tkhakushinov and president of Academy of Geopolitical Problems of Russia L. Ivashov.
December 25 media published a document entitled "Appeal of 115 Syrian Circassians to the Russian authorities and the people of the Republic of Adygea". The letter was addressed to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the head of the Republic of Adygea Aslan Tkhakushinov and the people of Adygea.
"Mmassive clashs of different groups with the authorities of the country constantly occur, hundreds of innocent people are killed. We, the Circassians of Syria, are daily risking our lives and the lives of their loved ones". According to the authors of the appeal, they have no hope for a peaceful life. The Circassians think that the whole world turned away from Syria.
The authors of the appeal asked Russian officials to receive the Syrian Circassians at the Russian North Caucasus. "The only people to whom we can call upon for salvation - our brothers and sisters in the North Caucasus", said in the appeal. Middle Eastern Circassians are asking for shelter "in the land of their ancestors, salvation from imminent tragedy", they want Russia to "lend a helping hand in hard hour".
The history of the Circassians in the Middle East started in the late XII - early XIII century during the Crusades. To protect themselves from the Western invaders, Fatimid caliphs of Egypt and Seljuk sultans of Syria called mercenaries Circassians for service. Those turned out to be true to their vassals, many of them became Amirs (the generals) and Atabeks (the chiefs) in the army of Syrian Sultan. One of the Circassian generals called Fakhr al-Din was the right hand of the famous Salah al-Din. At the court of "terror of the infidels", Fakhr al-Din was called the Circassian. In 1257, in the region there was formed Circassian sultanate the capital of which became Cairo. In XIII - XIV centuries, this state waged successful war against the Mongols and Tamerlane's empire. The history of the Sultanate of Circassian was described by the historian Rashid al-Din.
In the XV century, the Ottomans defied Circassian Sultanate. At the beginning of XVI century, Sultan Selim I turned local Arabs against the dynasty of Circassians. The Governors Aleppo and Damascus, the Arabs by birth, became the servants of Selim I. At the crucial moment they left the Circassian Sultan Kansav al-Gauri during the Battle at Dakhuk field (August 24, 1516). Ottoman Turks won that battle. But the story of Circassian influence in the Middle East was not over. The Circassians later became true vassals of the Ottoman Empire. The current Circassian Diaspora is the descendants of Mohajirs (immigrants) from the Caucasus who fled their homeland after the defeat of the mountaineers in the Russian-Caucasian war (1763 -1864). First, they served to the Ottoman sultans. After the win of the Young Turk revolution they were used in the policy of forced Turkification of the population of decrepit Porte. Later, many Circassians have entered the ranks of the Arab liberation movement in Syria. Many of the streets of Damascus and other cities were named after the Circassians - the heroes of Syria.
It should be said that the Arab world considers all natives of the North Caucasus, living in the region, as the Circassians. This is not only Circassians (Adygs), but also Vainakhs, Dagestanis, Abkhazians and Ossetians. According to the Israeli portal IzRus, in 2008 in Syria, there were approximately 160,000 Caucasians. Multinational Caucasian diaspora supported Bashar Assad. Because of this the Caucasians became new target of "Arab spring in Syria".
President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov was not so long ago in Syria. In an interview to GTimes he said that "Assad is trying to help the Kurds and Circassians as he can. To this end, several amendments were introduced into the laws. The LAS, the primary observer on Syria, supports radical Islamists. Syrian Caucasians, the supporters of the Alawites, were condemned to the destruction by Islamists, so they ask for help from Russia".
Rebellious Homs is one of the places of compact residence of Syrian Circassians. As the Adygei diaspora reported to GTimes, "Circassians in Syria are statists, advocates of the secular regimes in those countries where they live. Many of them hold positions in the uniformed services. The situation in Turkey, Jordan and Israel is similar to the Syrian. But in Syria, "they already hear threats to the Circassians, since they do not support anti-government demonstrations".