Edited by Vincenzo Pira and Marco Pasquini
In this Notebook we present an update on the situation in Syria and the prospects for the near future, which we hope for peace and reconstruction, not only of physical infrastructure but also of civil coexistence and the rule of law.
The armed conflict that for about nine years has bloodied Syria has caused a serious humanitarian crisis and inflicted immense suffering on the Syrian people. According to estimates, there have been around 500,000 deaths so far. Six million refugees abroad, 12 million displaced within the Syrian borders and 90% of the population live in poverty.
The most relevant innovations of this period are the decree of general amnesty, issued by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 15, 2019, which plans to release or reduce the punishment of various prisoners, including some prisoners under the “law on terrorism” of the country. Anyone who has been convicted of killing someone or making him paralyzed is excluded.
Exceptions aside, prisoners sentenced to death will instead have to serve a life sentence with forced labor. Those who have been sentenced to life imprisonment with forced labor will have to work for 20 years, and those who have been sentenced to life imprisonment will have to spend 20 years in prison. Even prisoners with incurable diseases over the age of 75 will be released. Deserters who surrender within three months in Syria or within six months outside the country are exempted from punishment. The same goes for the kidnappers who release their hostages safe and sound within the next month. A signal that goes in the direction of mediation and pacification of the country. But still not enough.
The other noteworthy novelty is the convocation in Geneva, for next October 30th, of the first meeting of the Syrian constitutional committee, supported by the UN, and of which 50 members of the government, 50 of the oppositions and 50 “independent”.
It will be discussed under the supervision of the United Nations and it is proposed, with the document of the founding charter, to lay a foundation for a diplomatic solution to the conflicts in Syria.