In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor in northeast Syria, Gen. Mazlum Kobane speaks on a range of issues including prospects for reviving dialogue with Turkey, US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and the impact of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani's killing in Iraq.
In response to Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, the Egyptian parliament hosted Syrian Ambassador to Egypt Bassam Darwish in a move to show its official support for Syria against Turkey, and as a prelude to better diplomatic relations.
After eight years of Syrian refugee influx into Turkey, the country's attitude towards them has turned sour. As a result, the Government wants Syrians to live in the provinces that they are officially registered in, and seek permits if they want to go to other provinces.
Lebanon has voted in favor of two UN resolutions that improve the treatment of refugees and migrants, but the displaced Syrian refugees in the country may not benefit, as they are not classified as refugees or even migrants.
Nearly 90,000 Syrian refugees are reported to have left Lebanon this year but there is little verifiable information on how they are faring. Despite both countries benefitting from these returns, refugees have reported facing difficulties upon their return.
There are increasing reports from Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan of Syrian refugees being forcibly returned to Syria, despite the dangers that await them. In Lebanon the Foreign Minister has given UNHCR two weeks to develop a strategy for the return of refugees to Syria.