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Sorry Syria: Iranians apologize for country’s involvement in Syria

Iranian activists have launched a new online campaign to protest Tehran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war and to condemn their country’s support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Launched with a Facebook campaign called “Sorry Syria,” the group highlights the explosion of the Syrian migrant crisis and humanitarian conflict in recent months as “a small part of the disastrous condition of millions of Syrian who have been forced to leave their home country.” Pointing an accusatory finger at the outside governments propping up the Assad regime, the group singles out the Iran-backed Quds forces that have played a significant role in the conflict over the last few years. “As a group of Iranians, we believe it is our main responsibility to denounce the destructive intervention of the Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly the Quds force, in the Syrian crisis” the campaign’s mission statement proclaims, adding: “We wish the Syrian people peace and dignity and support their aspiration of gaining their inalienable human rights.” The campaign is calling upon the Iranian regime to cease funding and military backing of the Assad regime and work instead towards the formation of an interim government in Syria without Assad. By bringing light to the glaring atrocities of the Islamic State and other prominent players in the civil war such as the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra front, the campaign intends to underscore the stealth players involved in this conflict and to simultaneously distance the name of the Iranian people from the government actors. The group is enlisting the support of prominent Iranian activists and former Iranian political prisoners now in exile around the world with the intention of highlighting Iran’s detrimental impact on the lives of ordinary Syrians and Iran’s destabilization of the region in pursuit of its own national interests. Among the prominent voices so far, Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel prize winning Iranian human rights activist, currently living in exile in the U.K. and Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver. The group concludes its mission statement by noting the shamelessness of the Iranian regime and its inaction with regard to the mounting refugee crisis, calling upon the regime to host some of the Syrian refugees, to “alleviate a small part of the great pain that it has inflicted on the Syrian people.” More than three million Syrians have fled since the outbreak of the country’s civil war in 2011, with more than 6.5 million displaced across the country, according to the European Migration Policy Center.
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