Giv­ing thanks to those na­tions that are help­ing Syr­ian peo­ple

Kyiv Post - - Opinion - AD­NAN KI­VAN Ad­nan Ki­van, the founder of the KADORR Group based in Odesa, is the pub­lisher of the Kyiv Post.

As the crim­i­nal Bashar al-As­sad regime in Syria and its Krem­lin back­ers bomb civil­ians and hos­pi­tals in south­ern Syria, creat­ing 270,000 new refugees, it's time to bring at­ten­tion once more to the hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter tak­ing place.

The south­ern Daraa Prov­ince in Syria is where I am from, be­fore mov­ing to Odesa in 1980. Syria, the place of my birth, re­mains very close to my heart.

My in­de­pen­dent and demo­cratic home re­gion in Syria is also the birth­place of the peace­ful protests against As­sad's dic­ta­tor­ship in 2011. These peace­ful ac­tions turned into a rev­o­lu­tion, which is on­go­ing seven years later, be­cause of As­sad's cruel vi­o­lence against his own peo­ple — vi­o­lence that has in­cluded chem­i­cal weapon at­tacks and bar­rel bomb­ings that tar­get in­no­cent women and chil­dren, that de­stroy hos­pi­tals and schools and that show no re­gard for hu­man life. These are war crimes that must be pun­ished.

Now south­ern Syria is on the brink of a hu­mil­i­at­ing sur­ren­der to As­sad as civil­ians, with nowhere to go, live in tents un­der the hot sun near the Is­raeli and Jor­da­nian bor­ders. As­sad's war against his own peo­ple has killed at least 700,000 Syr­i­ans, forced an­other 6 mil­lion to re­lo­cate to find in­creas­ingly scarce safe ar­eas in­side Syria and it has sent an­other 6 mil­lion peo­ple flee­ing abroad.

Sadly, the world is do­ing al­most noth­ing to stop As­sad or his heart­less back­ers, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and the Ira­nian regime.

But many na­tions have opened their hearts — and their bor­ders — to take in Syr­ian refugees and help them get a new start to peace­ful lives un­til the As­sad regime is de­feated and they can re­turn home.

Thank­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of these coun­tries — in­clud­ing Canada, Turkey and Ger­many — is one rea- son why the Kyiv Post or­ga­nized the June 18 con­fer­ence "Bring­ing Peace to Syria & Ukraine." It's also one rea­son why I hap­pily took part in the June 30-July 1 Canada House at the Leopo­lis Jazz Fes­ti­val in Lviv.

Canada's ac­cep­tance of more than 25,000 Syr­i­ans touched my heart and led me to in­scribe "God Bless Canada" in Ara­bic on the Cana­dian flag. I in­stalled it in my prayer room un­til I de­cided to present this flag as a gift to Cana­dian Am­bas­sador Ro­man Waschuk in Lviv.

Canada went above and be­yond in help­ing. Cana­di­ans ar­rived at refugee camps on the Syr­ian-Jor­da­nian bor­der and res­cued peo­ple by plane. They had unique in­struc­tions. The first pri­or­ity was to take blind chil­dren with their fam­i­lies, fol­lowed by dis­abled chil­dren with their fam­i­lies and then preg­nant women with their fam­i­lies.

As I told the am­bas­sador, this gen­er­ous pol­icy is an act of great hu­man­ity that peo­ple around the world and es­pe­cially these fam­i­lies will re­mem­ber for gen­er­a­tions to come. I wished him, from the bot­tom of my heart and on be­half of mil­lions of Syr­ian peo­ple and the Kyiv Post, a Happy Canada Day.

Other coun­tries, in­clud­ing Turkey and Ger­many, have done so much. So have Jor­dan and Le­banon.

Turkey has taken in 3.5 mil­lion Syr­i­ans run­ning from war while Ger­many has ac­cepted 1.1 mil­lion refugees.

I had the honor of be­ing able to per­son­ally thank Turk­ish Am­bas­sador to Ukraine Yonet C. Tezel and Ger­man Am­bas­sador to Ukraine Ernst Re­ichel when they par­tic­i­pated in the Kyiv Post's "Bring­ing Peace to Syria & Ukraine" con­fer­ence.

I thanked Ger­mans and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment for help­ing refugees and the Syr­ian peo­ple. Ger­many has taken more refugees than any coun­try in Eu­rope — 1.1 mil­lion. Syr­i­ans will re­mem­ber it. One day many streets in Da­m­as­cus and Aleppo will be named af­ter Ger­man lead­ers.

Am­bas­sador Tezel's na­tion of Turkey has helped Syr­i­ans more than any­body else. We will re­mem­ber that for­ever. Turkey is our friend, our neigh­bor and our brother.

I am sure that one day we will have peace in Syria. We are de­ter­mined to build our coun­try peace­fully, beau­ti­fully and with a high level of jus­tice, with­out to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism and with­out this dic­ta­tor­ship. We are seek­ing, think­ing, hard-work­ing peo­ple. Mostly these days we are pray­ing. We are re­ly­ing on God to find a so­lu­tion for us. The sit­u­a­tion is very dif­fi­cult. But I am very con­fi­dent that, God will­ing, we will very soon start to re­build our coun­try as a democ­racy.


Cana­dian Am­bas­sador to Ukraine Ro­man Waschuk and Kyiv Post pub­lisher Ad­nan Ki­van, the owner and founder of the KADORR Group in Odesa, hold a Cana­dian flag in­scribed with "God Bless Canada" in Ara­bic. Ki­van par­tic­i­pated in Canada House at the Leopo­lis Jazz Fes­ti­val in Lviv, set up to cel­e­brate Canada Day on July 1. Ki­van thanked Waschuk for Canada's will­ing­ness to ac­cept more than 25,000 Syr­ian war refugees, giv­ing pri­or­ity to blind and dis­abled chil­dren and their fam­i­lies as well as preg­nant women and their fam­i­lies.


Smoke rises above rebel-held ar­eas of the south­ern Syr­ian city of Daraa dur­ing re­ported airstrikes by Syr­ian regime forces on July 5.

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