BERLIN – The Islamic Republic of Iran’s military role in the Syrian civil war conflict prompted a group of Iranian activists in late September to launch a Facebook page and a petition campaign to apologize to Syrians for the bloodshed caused by the regime in Tehran.
According to Iran expert and Fox News analyst Lisa Daftari, the “Sorry Syria” campaign’s mission statement declares: “As a group of Iranians, we believe it is our main responsibility to denounce the destructive intervention of the Islamic Republic of Iran, particularly the Quds force, in the Syrian crisis. We wish the Syrian people peace and dignity and support their aspiration of gaining their inalienable human rights.”
The “Sorry Syria” Facebook page contains posts mainly in Persian. There are some English contributions.
As of Wednesday, more than 2,000 people have “liked” the Facebook page.
The petition campaign was signed by nearly 80 people. In a Maclean’s article about “Sorry Syria,” Michael Petrou, who has written extensively about Iran, says, “Among [Syrian president] Assad’s few allies, none is more important than Iran. The Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps leads Iran’s intervention in Syria.
Although not deployed in large numbers, dozens of its members have died there.”
He adds, “Iran has also directed the entry of Shia fighters from Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere into Syria. And Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia militia, has been instrumental to Assad’s survival. Thousands of Hezbollah foot soldiers have fought in Syria; hundreds have died.”
In addition to the 2003 Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi, Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, supports the campaign.
The Syrian civil war has resulted in the deaths of more than 250,000 people. Assad’s regime has murdered eight times as many people as Islamic State, according to one estimate. The UN refugee agency reports more than 4 million refugees. The number of internally displaced Syrians is approximately 7.6 million.
The “Sorry Syria” declaration calls on Iran’s regime to absorb refugees to “alleviate a small part of the great pain that it has inflicted on the Syrian people.”
Daftari wrote on her webpage, “By bringing light to the glaring atrocities of Islamic State and other prominent players in the civil war such as the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra front, the campaign intends to underscore the stealth players involved in this conflict and to simultaneously distance the name of the Iranian people from the government actors.”