Syria's regime, the cheekiest dictatorship in town

Syria's regime, the cheekiest dictatorship in town
"You Stink" demonstrations in Beirut backed by Syria's regime, which has brutally dealt with its own protesters and forced millions to leave to Lebanon.
3 min read
25 Aug, 2015
Protesters have the sympathy of the Syrian dictator [AFP]
Syria's ministry of foreign affairs yesterday attacked the Lebanese government for its clampdown on protesters in Beirut.

Thousands of Lebanese took to the streets over the weekend angry at the country's mounting refuse crisis, which is threatening to rock the stability of the country.

Riots led to the death of one protester and dozens more injured by police.

But the rebels have found an unlikely ally in the Syrian regime, which occupied most of the country for 29 years and acted as kingmaker.

Now Damascus only partially controls Syria, and like its Lebanese counterpart is largely ineffective in delivering goods and services to people in its territories.

"[We] stand with the demands of the Lebanese people [for] the freedom [to] live in dignity and declare our rejection of any oppressive practices against peaceful demonstrators," the statement read.

It was reposted in English on a pro-government TV channel's social media page.

The wider demands of the protesters - an end to Lebanon's corrupt, ineffectual government, and better civil liberties - will sound familiar those Syrians who have taken part in anti-government protests since 2011.

Damascus used its army and security forces to put down the protests - shooting, imprisoning and torturing thousands activists and civilians.

After four years of war, 250,000 - mostly civilians - have died. Millions are without homes, parents or limbs.

That is why the ministry's statement is not a surprise, but reflects the patronising way the regime lords it over Syria.

An earlier statement was equally unconvincing to Syrians. 

"[The Syrian ministry of foreign affairs invites Syrian citizens residing in Lebanon to the need to leave and return to Syria, given the critical situations in which the Lebanese

More than 1.2 million Syrians are living as refugees in Lebanon. Many work in conditions bordering on slavery and almost all are in camps or poor housing, in abject or borderline poverty.

Most know that they would be likely targets of the regime's security services if they ever returned to Syria.

The Syrian foreign ministry is not known for its diplomatic behaviour.

Moscow talks between the regime and opposition took place last weekend. The foreign ministry told its followers that it kindly "tolerated" the attendence of opposition figures.

When tensions between North and South Korea escalated to this week, Damascus threw its weight behind the regime of Jim Jong-un. 

Mimicking the US state department in its rhetoric, Syria "strongly condemned" anti-North Korean propaganda targetting Pyongyang.

"Syria has been following with concern the latest developments in the Korean peninsula."

NGOs supporting millions of Syrian refugees might be asking where is the regime's concern for its own people.