Athens: The back door for the butcher of Damascus

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a few days ago the appointment of Ms. Tasia Athanassiou as a special envoy for Syria. Ms. Athanassiou held the position of Ambassador of Greece to the Syrian capital Damascus until 2012, when the Samaras government decided to sever diplomatic relations with Syria and close the Greek embassy. The move was a bold step toward condemning crimes and violence against peaceful demonstrations and protesters by the Assad regime. In fact, the Samaras government, through the prime minister and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its leadership, has repeatedly expressed Greece’s disgust and strong condemnation of the atrocities against the Syrian people. The governments of Papadimou and Pikrammenos did the same.

Thus, the recent decision of the Mitsotakis government made me wonder about the way this government is dealing with international crises and the huge extent of ignorance about regional policy and strategic alliances. So what is this step? Error, misunderstanding, or miscalculation? Or is there an excuse for that? I will try, here, to provide the reader with evidence and adequate answers to the justification that can be given by the proponents of this move and those who turn a blind eye in defense of the government.

First of all, I will clarify in a simple way what has happened in Syria in the last ten years, without unnecessary details. On March 15, 2011, the first major popular demonstration took place in Daraa province, in which Syrians demanded the fall of Assad’s dictatorial regime and expressed a desire for a dignified life, freedom and true democracy. The demonstration sparked hundreds of other protests in different cities and towns in Syria. This demonstration was a spark for hundreds of different cities and towns in Syria that were met by Assad’s security fist with bullets, arbitrary arrests, liquidation of activists in the field, boundless war crimes, destruction, bombing, barrel bombs, toxic gases, and chemical weapons. As a result, over the past ten years, butcher Assad has killed more than a million Syrians, destroyed nearly 80 percent of the country’s infrastructure and caused nearly 12 million refugees. Assad has killed more than 30,000 children, and media reports put the number of arrested and forcibly detained in prison at around 250,000, of whom more than 30,000 are women who are raped daily in the security centers of this criminal regime. In addition, more than 5,000 children are being held in these prisons. In fact, all the numbers I mentioned are just a small part of the most horrific, criminal, terrorist and irrational truth that the Syrian people have experienced in the last 10 years.

Is there some economic or political justification, or humanitarian or religious, or … or … or …  Greece, the country that gave birth to democracy, to open a door or a window for this butcher dictator to Europe?

Some who seek to embellish these crimes may say that with this step we are trying to protect and support the Christian presence in Syria, or that the Orthodox Church in the Middle East needs our solidarity in various ways. This is just madness and states ignorance of the details of the Syrian crisis. As the international media, especially the West, sheds light on the ISIS terrorist organization as a monster trying to kill non-believers, Assad’s planes drop their explosive barrels on all Christian churches in Syria. Go check the walls of Mar Takla Church in Darayya, which has been bombed more than ten times, and eventually a barrel bomb almost leveled it. And if you don’t like this church, which was built only a few hundred years ago, go to Idlib province and check out the Church of Virgin Mary just before the city of Idlib, which dates back to pro-Christian times and was targeted directly by Assad warplanes. It seems that the serenity of this church has upset the arrogance of Assad and his supporters from the far right in Europe who pretend to love Christ.

Here I have to present to the reader some numbers about the Christians in Syria. According to local documentation networks, between 2011 and 2019, 124 churches and places of worship were attacked. About 80 of them were beaten by the Assad regime and 10 by the ISIS terrorist organization. Hundreds of Christian activists have been arrested by the regime, many of whom have died in prison and thousands have been displaced or killed. Aren’t all these crimes of the butcher of Damascus against Christians enough?

Some may say that in Greece we are facing a more serious and recently growing conflict with Ankara, so we need to build strategic relations with allies who are hostile to Turkey. Anyone who claims this, is unaware of the basic principles of international politics and the history of the region. I would like to remind you that Bashar al-Assad opened the economic and political gates of Syria to Erdoğan from 2006 until the outbreak of the revolution, when Erdoğan himself decided to close his borders. For those unfamiliar, Assad’s secret service officials have been meeting secretly from time to time with Turkish secret services, mediated by Russia, to exchange information. It is clear that the Assad regime is not an enemy of Turkey. After all, as is well known, Assad is the scapegoat internationally and regionally. Gaining a relationship with someone like him is stupid, since he does not even have control over his state. Syria is nothing more than an international farm run by the Russians, the French, the Americans, the Turks, the Iranians, etc. What can be Greece’s strategic interest in being with contaminated by the blood of the people that a murderous regime is shedding every day?

Others may say that we are in an economic crisis and that we are forced to expand our economic relations and look for new sources of income and trade that will contribute to our economy. The answer to this question is simple. Take a look at the last ship to arrive off the coast of Syria, which was siezed by the Greek Coast Guard a few months ago and contained about 33 million Captagon drugs, one of the most dangerous drug stimulants produced in a factory in the region between Harasta and Douma towns. From Assad, we will get nothing but Captagon, hashish and money laundering of his militiamen, soaked in the blood of innocents. Assad has no gas, no oil, no resources to rebuild Syria, which was destroyed by his military machine and is estimated to cost at least $ 400 billion. As for Greece’s possible involvement in the reconstruction of Syria, this is a delusional dream as it will not be implemented with Assad in power. That means a political solution and legitimate elections without Assad. Relations with Assad now will create friction with the next Syrian government. In addition, the Russian and Iranian companies already have the lion’s share of the country’s reconstruction in their pockets and the Americans the oil. The exploitation of the gas in the sea area of ​​Syria has been given to Russia for 100 years. Finally, I would like to remind you of the attitude of the Assad regime towards the Cyprus issue. Syria was one of the first countries to recognize Northern Cyprus.

Based on the above, what is our financial benefit other than the destruction of our youth by the drugs of this regime?

The only political reason I can see in this move is the recent tightening of our relations with the UAE due to Libya and the close relationship with Macron. In other words, we align ourselves with the UAE’s policy in the Middle East. We sent Greek Patriot to Saudi Arabia involved in a long-running conflict that does not concern us and we approach Assad as an enemy of our enemy, Turkey.

My answer to those who justify the recent step of the Greek government is to reconsider. Would they support the start of relations with the ISIS terrorist organization knowing that Assad regime killed 100 times more innocent civilians than those killed by that organization? Would they support contact with the al-Qaeda terrorist organization knowing that it did not kill civilians with internationally banned chemical weapons, as the Assad regime has done many times in the last ten years?

Greece has been and still is one of the most aligned countries in the world in terms of justice, freedom and democracy. In many conflicts that surround us, we have always chosen to distance ourselves from the injustice and support of criminals and dictators. This fair choice has made us one of the safest countries to enjoy the respect and esteem of most peoples in the world.

My message to Prime Minister Mitsotakis and his government is this: Do not tarnish Greece’s position with the blood of innocent Syrian citizens and do not place my country’s name on the list of supporters for criminals and murderers.