Syrian academic says airstrikes will not help - The Leamington Observer

Syrian academic says airstrikes will not help

Leamington Editorial 4th Dec, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016   0

SANCTIONING air strikes and fuelling the fire of war will only make things worse, says Reem Doukmak, a Syrian academic studying at Warwick University.

The 33-year-old was chosen to join a scholarship at the university’s Centre of Linguistics in 2007. She has continued her studies and is now researching new methods of learning for refugees.

But Reem, who lives in Coventry, has had to leave the rest of her family in Syria and says she fears for their safety.

She told the Observer: “I am constantly worried about my family. I wish they could come to the UK so I stop panicking when I hear bad news back home. It terrifies me when I lose contact with them.”

And the situation in Syria shows no sign of being resolved anytime soon, with the UK recently joining Nato allies in carrying air strikes against IS targets in the country ruled by dictator President Assad.

Reem believes increased attacks will only lead to more refugees seeking refuge in Europe.

She said: “Fuelling the fire of war in Syria will only increase the influx of Syrians crossing the borders.

“I also think the end to war should be through peace negotiations through the two main conflicts sides – Assad’s regime and the opposition. The threat from ISIS could be addressed after the roots of the conflict are resolved.

“The situation is simply going to become more complicated when trying to resolve the issue but overlooking the main reason of the war.”

While Reem has been studying in the UK, she has made two trips to Turkey to work with refugees who have fled the fighting in Syria.

She believes the Syrians do not want to settle in Europe and hope to return home when the war is over.

Reem – who taught English at a university in the war-torn Syrian city of Homs before moving to the UK – said: “The refugee camps are transitional spaces, people do not want to live there for the rest of their lives. They have stayed there until now because they are living in the hope they will soon go back to their country across the borders.

“The imprisonment feeling, the uncertain vision of the future, the strict rules and large number of refugees crammed into such a small space seems a common feature across the camps, which can vary from neat containers to primitive tents.

“If David Cameron announces he wants to bring refugees from the camps, he should be aware that he is tempting them to build expectations that he will help them find a route out of the limbo they are stuck in.

“Those who now live in urban areas are just as destitute. Many of them are vulnerable, particularly the children.”

Reem says she hopes to move back to Syria to be with her family when the war is over.

She concluded: “England is nice, but there is nowhere like home.”

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