While the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) remains dedicated to humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, and impartiality, we express grave concerns about recent political developments regarding Syria. These developments are likely to have adverse effects on the safety and well-being of millions of displaced Syrians and their healthcare providers, as well as undermine the international community’s responsibility to ensure accountability for affected populations. 

For example, SAMS’ staff tirelessly document attacks on healthcare facilities and civilians, gather evidence of war crimes, rebuild vital infrastructure, and assist survivors and victims’ families to put their lives back together. However, these vital efforts face potential risks with the current push for the reintegration of the Syrian regime into regional institutions. This push coincides with other political issues that could harm the most vulnerable, such as the repatriation schemes witnessed in some regional countries which our partners organizations report involve coercion.

The humanitarian community cannot allow the illegal, forced, and dangerous repatriation of vulnerable refugees to Syria, where their basic needs will depend on an overwhelmed aid system that is susceptible to politicization, Security Council member veto threats on UN cross-border operations, and an increased risk of corruption if the Syrian government becomes more involved in the aid process. Such developments would bring disastrous consequences for the vulnerable populations that SAMS serves.

SAMS President, Dr. Amjad Rass, expressed, “This is a discouraging moment. We collaborate with governments committed to justice and accountability, and these partners have assured us that the crimes committed during this war will not go unanswered. However, we now observe a prioritization of political ‘breakthroughs’ over accountability and the humanitarian principles we all stand for. We urge the international community to honor its commitment to the voiceless hundreds of thousands who may be directly or indirectly affected by the reintegration of the Syrian regime into regional institutions. Crimes against humanity must not be normalized or tolerated.”

Regardless of other regional or global political agendas, SAMS will persist in working with partners and advocating for justice and accountability. SAMS leadership remains hopeful that people and governments worldwide, who uphold their commitment to justice, will continue to be staunch allies of the Syrian people and demand accountability.