31 October 2012, 08:00
Open letter of repatriates from Syria to President of the Russian Federation, heads of KBR, KCR and the republic of Adygea
President of the Russian Federation Putin
Head of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria Kanokov
Head of the Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia Temrezov
Head of the Republic of Adygea Tkhakushinov
We, Circassians who returned to our native lands, our beautiful republics of KBR, RA and RCR, express our deep gratitude to all of you, and in particular, the peoples of Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia and Adygea, for warm welcome and constructive support we received and are still receiving.
The Circassian community formed in Syria in the second half of XIX century as a result of our ancestors’ banishment from their Motherland, the Russian Empire. Circassian settlements appeared all over Western Syria, from Menbezh in the North to the Golan Heights in the South. The Circassians took active part in the life of the country maintaining their culture and ethnic customs (Khabza) as well as the love for our native country. As a result of partner’s relations between the USSR/the Russian Federation and Syria and close connection with the big Russian community in Syria, the Circassians living there got a chance to establish regular contacts with their Russian relatives and compatriots.
The present-day situation in Syria is permanently becoming worse in spite of all the efforts, escalation of violence is going on and no gleam of hope can be seen in the future. The areas of the Circassians’ compact settlement turned out in the zone of most severe battles with the use of heavy military techniques and aviation. The number of victims of the war among peaceful population, including Circassian one, is growing headlong. People are leaving their houses in search of rescue. The biggest Circassian cluster appeared in the South of the country, in the zone of frozen Syrian-Israeli conflict.
After the Circassians lost their motherland they unfortunately had to move from one place to another a lot of times losing their property but maintaining Circassian identity, culture and language. In XX century the Circassians repeatedly appealed to the USSR and Russia on this issue. When 20 years ago repatriation became possible the Syrian Circassians were the first among the Circassian diaspora who used this chance.
We know well and have gone through all the procedures of repatriation. Here are only some of them our compatriots is Syria encounter:
The absence of privileges and simplified procedures of getting the Russian visa as well as permission of temporary residence and residence permit;
high costs of dues on document legalization in Russian consular departments which especially complicates resettlement of the families;
very long terms of legalization of documents necessary to enter the territory of the Russian Federation and get a permission of temporary residence;
the danger following the demand to come personally to the Russian consular departments in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo because of intensive combat operations going on all over the country;
impossibility in a great number of cases to legalize the packet of documents demanded by the Russian party correctly because many governmental agencies in Syria are totally paralyzed;
limitations in getting permissions of temporary residence connected with the acting quotas for migrants in the territory of the three Russian West-Caucasian republics with “title” Circassian population;
complications in document legalization caused by the age difference among the repatriates, their state of health and language barrier.
All the above mentioned factors made the Circassians’ mass repatriation from Syria practically impossible in spite of the fact that disastrous aggravation of the situation in Syria has put local Circassian community in Syria on the brink of extermination.
We, citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic who returned to our native lands, realize the whole extent of gravity of the present situation in Syria as nobody else, in particular, the mortal danger of the situation of the Circassian and Russian communities in that country. Our earnest request to you is to organize mass evacuation of the Circassians and Russians from Syria to their native country urgently. Any further delay may result in a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe the beginning of which we can already see with our own eyes.
October, 17, 2012
Source: Circassian web-site eLot.ru