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Peace resources in northeastern Syria; the topic of a dialogue session held by Nextep organization

(Qamishli, January 24, 2022) As an extension to the “paths of peace” initiative, Nextep organization, via “Google meet” app, held a focused dialogue session entitled “Peace resources in northeastern Syria, and ways to employ it in the consolidation of coexistence and civil peace between all the region’s components”.

The session was attended by 11 people from Hasakah, Deir-ez zor, and Raqqa (all are cities in northeastern Syria) including academics, civil activists, and politicians, in order to discuss the different topics of the session.

The session started with a brainstorm about the most critical conflicts that the northeastern Syrian region have witnessed, which affected civil peace between the communities. Then, the participants discussed the objective and subjective circumstances which consolidated the communities’ coexistence in the region, and the most important of which were the: inclination to live peacefully,  common economic interests, fear of extremist groups and their sleeper cells, and fear of Turkish threats regarding invading new areas of the region. The participants also saw that fair distribution of wealth would strengthen the bond between the different communities.

Another topic that the participants discussed was the role of the most important actors in the region’s conflicts and conflict alleviation: as most participants agreed on the bilateral role that both the media and civil society organizations can play in mitigating or escalating the conflicts between the region’s communities. In addition, they saw that it’s incumbent upon the existing institutions to advance dialogue between the communities. They also expressed that moderate religious people, clan leaders, intelligentsia, and activists have an important role in mitigating the intensity of these conflicts.

The last topic that the attendees touched upon was “employing civil society and the media in mitigating the conflicts’ intensity between the different communities in northeastern Syria”; as they emphasized on the necessity of spreading awareness, dialogue values, and justice by civil society organizations and the media. They also stressed on managing diversity in the region in a way that serves peaceful coexistence to reduce hate speech by making dialogue sessions and educational seminars.

The session has come up with a set of recommendations such as the necessity of spreading awareness by the media and civil society organizations and strengthening the role of civil society; they also agreed on the need for a shared social contract for all Syrians, which takes racial and religious diversity into consideration. Other suggestions included making sessions to consolidate the concept of acceptance, and achieving justice regarding service provision in the region