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Europe hesitates to call for the defection of Syrian soldiers

(BRUSSELS2 in Luxembourg) The foreign ministers of the “27” did not today call on the military and members of the security forces to defect and join the ranks of the rebellion or abroad. At the most, the European Union has saluted, through Catherine Ashton, the courage of those who "defected " these days. " For us it is clear, it is important that those who can have the choice recognize that they have the responsibility to try (this) in the terrible circumstances that we know ". A lack of clarity that hides a certain embarrassment on the subject.

In fact, the issue has been discussed several times in working groups, as a European diplomat confirmed to us. Some countries, the Dutch in particular, were in favor of this call for defections. But this discussion did not come to fruition. Several countries believe that this would be “unrealistic”. Making this call could directly threaten people. Since in several cases, the Syrian regime has carefully placed the “families” of its main managers in “security“, in other words took them hostage. Some Europeans fear two consequences: launching an appeal which would receive little response, or conversely, being obliged if the soldiers manage to cross the borders to welcome them in the name of the right of asylum. Of course, everyone rejects this last objection, but it seems to be present in some countries. We remember that, during the last crises, notably in Libya, many countries were more than reluctant to welcome such refugees, even if they could present all the characteristics of political refugees.

Despite everything, in front of the press, Laurent Fabius, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, reiterated his call on Friday: “ What is happening – with the latest defections – shows the state in which the regime is. We need to encourage this kind of thing. France supports this position (the call for defection). »

Read also: A Syrian pilot arrives in Jordan. Americans and French call on soldiers to desert

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).