BEIRUT – A new report by a Syria conflict monitoring group accuses the government of depopulating Sunni-majority areas in Syria’s third-largest city as it fights to consolidate its power.
The report released Tuesday by the Washington-based Syria Institute raises ethical questions about what role, if any, the U.N. and other international institutions should play in rebuilding Syria while President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.
The report says the government’s six-year-long crackdown on revolt has disproportionately affected Sunni-majority neighborhoods in the city of Homs while sparing its Alawite residents. Assad is an Alawite.
It says supporting government-managed reconstruction efforts in Homs amounts to rewarding the government for what it says is a “sectarian” strategy of depopulation, and incentivizes further “war crimes.”
It says international institutions should hold Assad to account instead.