Earlier this month, American and Russian leaders formed a proposal to jump-start the reconstruction of Syria with the goal of sending millions of refugees back to their home country. Though Trump and Putin have not decided upon any concrete action, their agreement begs a crucial question: will countries that condemn Assad’s regime be willing to assist in the return of Syrian immigrants? The primarily loophole with this plan is that rebuilding the nation may indirectly help the President further consolidate power. Under a new property law, known as Law No. 10, the government is allowed to confiscate residential land for development - if given adequate resources. Furthermore, Assad is not guaranteed to accept any returnees; in 2015, when European powers implemented a similar plan that lacked financial assistance, the leader blocked Syrian borders. His refusal of the returnees subsequently caused an increase in Syrian immigration to Europe, sparking populists revolts and paranoia of terrorist recruitment.
Not all Syrians wish to return home. In Lebanon, the government continues to push emigration, although they are aware that murder and conscription have occurred at the border.
While neighboring countries push for return, Syrians residing in southern regions - particularly Daraa - face extensive bombing campaigns. Around 300,000 individuals have been traveling to the Golan Heights or the Jordanian border since June, despite both nations official closing doors months prior. As of today, plans for the rebuilding of Syria must be put on hold while violence continues throughout rebel-held territories.
Young, Michael. “Profits and a Solution to the Refugee Crisis Might Persuade the US and Europe to Help Rebuild Syria.” The National, The National, 25 July 2018, www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/profits-and-a-solution-to-the-refugee-crisis-might-persuade-the-us-and-europe-to-help-rebuild-syria-1.753899.
“Why Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Fear Going Back to an Assad-Controlled Syria · Global Voices.” Global Voices, 25 July 2018, globalvoices.org/2018/07/25/why-syrian-refugees-in-lebanon-fear-going-back-to-an-assad-controlled-syria/.
“UNCONFIRMED: Syrian Government, Rebels Reach Reconciliation Deal in Daraa.” AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز, 22 June 2017, www.almasdarnews.com/article/unconfirmed-syrian-government-rebels-reach-reconciliation-deal-daraa/.