MEMO in Conversation with Celine Kassem – Middle East Monitor

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Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad frames himself as the ‘protector of minorities’ and has depicted all opposition to him as being both sectarian and jihadi. However, many have challenged the official narrative by pointing out the broad based opposition to Assad’s rule, the regime’s record of oppressing minorities and Damascus’ own policies of trying to drive a wedge between communities.

August and September 2023 saw large-scale anti-regime demonstrations in Suwayda led-by the religious minority; the Druze. As a result, the regime’s record on its treatment of minorities as well as its general misrule has been brought back to the forefront. With this in mind, join us as we speak to Caline Kassem on the situation of another minority group, the Circassians.

Originally from the Caucasus, the Circassians community in Syria is large and culturally vibrant. Expelled by the Russian Empire in the 19th century, Syria has been a refuge for Circassians. However, like so many other fellow Syrians, a large number have been displaced, killed or exiled since 2011. What has the situation in Syria been like for Circassians? These are just some of the questions Syrian-Circassian-Canadian activist and Media Executive of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, Kassem, will answer.

Kasem is a human rights activist and public speaker and holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science.

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