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Unrest Forces Abkhazian Mukhajirs in Syria to Consider Repatriation

By Ernest Petrosyan
Friday, December 23
“Moscow offers Sukhumi the repatriation of descendents of Abkhaz mukhajirs living in Syria,” reports the internet portal “Kavkazskiy uzel”. The article describes the history of resettlement of Abkhaz mukhajirs to Syria, then a part of the Ottoman Empire, in the 19th century, after the Caucasian war.

The article describes the prominent role of Abkhazian descendents in Syria’s history, especially their loyalty to the ruling regime. According to the author, Abkhazian mukhajirs have been holding high positions in Syrian government, army, and Special Forces.

Further on the article talks about the current situation in Syria. The author writes that in the new realities in the Middle East, the Baas party and Bashir Assad will fall and no anti-American regime will exist in the region. “Syria is not Libya”, says the author noting that the involvement of outer forces is absent, and Assad’s regime will fall as a result of processes of civil war.

It says that Russia will lose its closest ally in the region, accusing France, Turkey and Israel of escalating the situation in Syria, after those countries called for an international coalition for military intervention in Syria.

The core of the article is that as a result of Assad’s fall, Syrian Abkhaz mukhajirs will be in a bad situation due to their loyalty to the current regime.

The author of the article writes that Abkhaz descendents should be resettled back to Abkhazia, noting that Russia should assume the responsibility for their transportation, finances and solving diplomatic issues.

“If Russia and Abkhazia, the two states which wish the return of Abkhazian mukhajirs to Abkhazia, they can easily solve the issue. The moment has come when both parties can show a kind attitude to the diaspora,” the author further writes that the repatriation of Abkhaz descendents can increase Russia’s prestige and sympathy among people in the Caucasus.

The author assumes that after the implementation of repatriation, Abkhazian mukhajirs in Abkhazia will cause the dissemination of a radical Islamic ideology in Abkhazia. Yet, he notes that thereby Abkhazia can improve its demographic problem, creation of job, and improve the entire economic development of Abkhazia.

According “Kavkazski uzel” the recent visits of the Russian Head of the FSB Nikolay Patrushev, accompanied by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin might be related to the issue of the repatriation of Abkhaz mukhajirs.

As the analyst in Caucasus issues, Mamuka Areshidze said, Russia is interested in the repatriation of particularly Syrian Abkhazian residents and not Turkish ones, as Russia finds them more reliable: ”Russia refused to repatriate Turkish Abkhazian mukhajirs as they will strengthen Turkish influence in Abkhazia.” The analyst added that the recent visit of Patrushev and Karasin to Abkhazia is deeply related with the issue.