When a delegation from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party visited Syria recently, the delegation’s leader Christian Blex, a member of the Bundestag, said they "felt safe".
Blex told Sputnik News that the delegation visited Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. “The people on the streets looked completely normal and relaxed,” he said.
But the delegation saw the hardships suffered by civilians during their visit to Syria as a result of sanctions.
“We were able to convince ourselves of the disastrous effect of the sanctions on the civilian population. In particular, the head of the University Hospital of Aleppo drew out attention to their devastating impact on the health system. Medicines and medical equipment, such as x-ray equipment, are no longer available.”
A 2016 report issued by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), described the sanctions on Syria as “some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions ever imposed” and warned that they “punish ordinary Syrians and make the work of aid agencies almost impossible”.
AfD Bundestag member Christian Blex (Facebook)
“Extending the suffering of the Syrian people to topple President Bashar al-Assad is incompatible with my humanitarian principles and certainly not in German interests. The inhibiting effect of the sanctions on the Syrian economy also increases the pressure for migration to Germany. The sanctions will deliberately hinder the reconstruction of the country,” Blex added.
“Every year, Germany pays 40 to 50 billion euros for the accommodation of the so-called refugees. These people will for the most part be permanently dependent on social benefits. Of course, therefore, it makes more sense to support the reconstruction in Syria in order to offer these people the opportunity to return to their homeland and earn a living there,” he said.
The delegation passed several checkpoints manned by troops from the Syrian Army to stop terrorists and smugglers from transporting weapons and materiel to militant-held areas.
“The security situation seemed to me very good, at least beyond the reach of the artillery of the ‘moderate’ terrorists. But East Ghouta is fortunately free now, so Damascus cannot be targeted by mortars and rockets anymore as it is out of range,” Blex explained.
Religious leaders as well as representatives of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) in Aleppo, have called for the return of Syrians that have fled to other countries. “During our stay, we found no doubt that the return of Syrians of any religious affiliation is eagerly awaited,” the German lawmaker noted.