Al-Mekdad pleads for Arab support in Gaza meeting

Arab League ministerial-level meeting in Cairo - March 6, 2024 (SANA)

Arab League ministerial-level meeting in Cairo - March 6, 2024 (SANA)


During his participation in the 161st ordinary session of the Arab League Council at the ministerial level in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, which largely centered on the situation in Gaza, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad seized the opportunity to call for Arab support on multiple fronts.

In his speech, which touched on the situation in the Gaza Strip, al-Mekdad pointed to what he described as “daily aggressions” on Syrian territory. He considered that the “criminal occupation” government is attempting to escalate the situation in the region, which threatens international peace and security.

Al-Mekdad did not touch on the Israeli targeting of Iranian officers in Syria nor the Iranian military influence as a cause of these strikes according to Israel.

He also mentioned that Syria is facing significant challenges represented by “terrorist groups” on parts of its territory, in addition to the presence of “the American and Turkish occupation forces” in the north and northeast regions of Syria, and the American and European sanctions on the Syrian government.

Al-Mekdad considered the sanctions and the military presence of the US and Turkey the main obstacle on the path to reconstruction efforts and economic recovery projects.

He expressed hope for the support of the “Arab brothers” to break what he called “the Western economic blockade on the Syrian people” and to initiate early recovery projects, contributing to a return to stability and enhancing the ability to combat crime and impose security and peace, and supports the efforts for the return of those displaced by “the terrorist war imposed on Syria.” This stance is in contrast to human rights and international reports confirming that Syria is not safe for the return of refugees due to ongoing security violations by the regime against returnees.

On February 13, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Office stated that many Syrians who had fled the war are facing serious human rights abuses upon their return to Syria.

According to a report issued today by the United Nations Human Rights Office, the documented violations and abuses were committed by the regime’s government, de facto authorities, and other armed groups throughout Syria.

No breakthroughs in meetings

Al-Mekdad conducted a series of meetings on the sidelines of the session that were not outside the norm for states that normalize or are in the process of normalizing relations with the Syrian regime.

Al-Mekdad met his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, Lebanese Minister, Abdallah Bou Habib, and the UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Khalifa Shaheen.

He also met Tunisian Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar and discussed bilateral relations, ways to enhance them, and developments on the regional and international stages.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the meetings took place in a positive atmosphere and that there was agreement on various issues discussed, especially regarding the Palestinian cause.

Ongoing exploitation

In an interview conducted with the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, and broadcast by the official media on March 3, al-Assad considered that discussing the situation in Gaza separately was not possible because Gaza is part of the Palestinian issue and there are no justifications for Israel’s excessive use of force against Palestinians defending their occupied land.

In this context, the interview did not address the security tensions on the borders of the occupied Syrian Golan nor the almost daily Israeli strikes on Syrian points and locations with Iranian officers and personnel affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, referred to by Tehran as “experts and consultants.”

On February 29, the Syrian regime condemned Israeli targeting of Palestinian citizens in Gaza, hours after its Russian ally launched raids on the western outskirts of Idlib city, resulting in the death of a civilian and the injury of five others, alongside regime bombardment of Idlib countryside and Aleppo’s western rural areas.

Palestinians in Syria are among the victims of the regime forces and their allies, as they have not been excluded from the regime’s ongoing violations against Syrians.

From March 2011 to October 2022, regime forces killed 3,207 Palestinians, including 352 children and 312 women, and 497 individuals due to torture, according to a report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).


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