12:56 GMT16 May 2021
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    Memorandum on Safe Zones in Syria (89)

    The introduction of so-called internal "safe zones" for Syrian refugees could further endanger civilians, and as such they should be administered correctly to ensure refugees do not become sitting targets, a prominent watchdog said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) The Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a question-and-answer document on the issue that "safe zones lead large numbers of civilians, often of a particular ethnicity or religion, to congregate in a single place, making them a clear and exposed target for warring parties."

    "Safe zones are billed as a way to spare civilians the horrors of war, but all too often they become magnets for the fighting… Warring parties contemplating a safe zone in Syria should fully understand the dangers involved and not create them as a quick and easy way to keep refugees out of their countries," James Ross, legal and policy director at HRW, said commenting on the publication of the document.

    Making note of problems experienced by past safe zones, the document notes that so-called safe zones in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sri Lanka were not adequately protected by local and international authorities.

    The HRW added that safe zones "are never genuinely safe" and they cannot serve as justification for governments to close their borders to refugees.

    A number of countries, including the United States, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan, have recently discussed the idea of creating "safe zones" in Syria. In line with US President Donald Trump's policy proposals, his administration has been advocating for the creation of the safe zones to help refugees fleeing the ongoing civil war.

    Syria's civil war has been ongoing for nearly six years, being fought between the government troops and numerous opposition and terrorist organizations, such as the Daesh, outlawed in Russia.

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    Memorandum on Safe Zones in Syria (89)


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