RAMALLAH, July 24 (JMCC) - As Syrian security continues its crackdown on demonstrators, Palestinian refugees in the country are joining in the protests, reports
As Syrian protesters demanding basic rights continue to be gunned down by President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces, Syria’s Palestinians are beginning to stand up like citizens themselves, protesting against the ruthless violence of Assad’s government.
“Palestinian refugees in Syria live among Syrians, not like in Lebanon. For six decades we have lived together and there are many mixed marriages and a new, mixed generation,” said a political activist from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).
“When the protesters call on us to participate, it shows they consider us partners, not strangers. We have the same rights as Syrians, so we also have the same responsibilities.”
On July 1, in the first reported mass participation of Palestinians in the opposition since the uprising began in mid-March, more than 3,000 Palestinians from the refugee camp in the central city of Homs joined the pro-democracy protests.
More than simply a boost to the size of the protests that Friday, the participation of the Palestinians, for some long-time Syria watchers, represented a seismic shift.
“Dictators have used the Palestinians for the last 50 years to get legitimacy, saying to their people, ‘You have to tolerate all this violence, all this lack of freedom, all this brutality because we’re going to liberate Palestine.’ That’s a lie,” said Wissam Tarif, director of Insan, a Syrian human rights organization.
“My father bought it. And the fathers and grandfathers of the people protesting on the streets bought it too. But we don’t.”