Recent media reports that Southern Syria has been ambushed by Islamic State soldiers. Attacks took place in vegetable markets, public squares and villages. The New York Times reports that according to a war monitor and locals the death toll is estimated to be around 200.
Despite ISIS losing a lot of its territory over recent months, these attacks have again dismantled attempts at crucial peace and community rebuilding within Syria.
Closely located to Jordan, the Sweida Province, was targeted in these attacks. Karam Monther, a resident of the war-torn country has told The Guardian that ISIS would deliberately enter homes and destroy the lives of all but one. Snipers were deployed across towns to maximize casualties, and ISIS used suicide bombers to terrify and disturb. Many citizens have labelled the events as a ‘slaughter.’ These attacks have also resulted in people becoming missing and injured with the death toll likely to rise.
Previously, the region of Sweida was perceived as untouched by the bloodshed of Syria’s numerous problems. However, the recent events has changed that as the people of Sweida bury their dead. An ordinary province progressed into a warzone within hours, with many citizens determined to fight back and to defend their homes. Under Bashar al-Assad’s rule since 2000, Syria has been the subject of discussion regarding human rights and security. Attacks by ISIS and their seizing of territories in Syria have been well documented and commented on for years. Not even frequent airstrikes have made the terrorist group give up the land that they have conquered. This causes Syria to be in a constant state of disarray.
The Guardian addressed the likelihood of conscription and compulsory military services that may spring out of violent attacks. However this is distressing for those who live in Syria who may want no part in the government’s efforts. Conscription may add numbers to Assad’s strength and provide the opportunity to cut down Assad’s opponents. To date Assad’s response to ISIS remains weak and unhelpful in assuring peace and security for all Syrian people.
Talking about peace in Syria seems out of reach. Recent attacks such as the one on Sweida may further convince people that peace is impossible in Syria. However, to give up hope would mean giving up on the Syrian people. That would be catastrophic for human rights and the individual’s wellbeing in Syria. The international community must prioritise Syria and provide consistent advocacy for the Syrian people.
As the people of Sweida Province mourn, the need for better security measures becomes clear. Sadly, the Syrian Government is not up to the task. This attack will be documented as a mere number as one of the many assaults Syria had to endure. We, as the international community, must avoid that.