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Mon Dec 28, 2015, 06:49 PM

Syria and Iraq: Ethnic cleansing by Sunni and Shia jihadis is leading to a partition of the M East.

Conflicts among communities that once lived together in peace brings the prospect of a refugee crisis that will continue long after the fighting ends

Patrick Cockburn

Sunday 27 December 2015

Sectarian and ethnic cleansing by all sides in Syria and Iraq is becoming more intense, ensuring that there are few mixed areas left in the two countries and, even if the war ends, many refugees will find it too dangerous to return to their homes.

Communities which once lived together in peace are today so frightened of each other after years of savage warfare that the more powerful sect or ethnic group is forcing out the weaker one. This pattern is repeating itself everywhere from the Sunni towns captured by Shia militiamen in provinces around Baghdad to Christian enclaves in central Syria under threat from Isis, and in Turkmen villages just south of the Syrian-Turkish border being bombed by Russian aircraft.

The inability of Syrians and Iraqis to return home in safety means that Europe and the Middle East will have to cope for decades to come with an irreversible refugee crisis brought on by the war.

There are good reasons for everybody to be afraid, though outside powers play down the sectarian or ethnic agenda of their local Syrian proxies and allies. “We will end up like the Christians, being forced out of the country,” says a young Sunni photographer, Mahmoud Omar, who once lived in Ramadi in the overwhelmingly Sunni province of Anbar. Many fled when Isis captured the city in May which is now under assault by the military forces of the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad trying to recapture it. Some 1.4 million people from Anbar or 43 per cent of its population are displaced, according to the International Organisation for Migration.


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Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply Syria and Iraq: Ethnic cleansing by Sunni and Shia jihadis is leading to a partition of the M East. (Original post)
Jefferson23 Dec 2015 OP
bemildred Dec 2015 #1

Response to Jefferson23 (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2015, 07:50 AM

1. Yes, and it's happening right now too. nt

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