Results Of An Unending War: The Syrian Crisis
For some years now, the Syrian people have not witnessed any iota of peace since their last protest on 15 March 2011. After the Arab Spring blew over, North Africa immediately set down alternation in power in Egypt, Tunisia, and most Arab countries. The Syrian people, who were under a form of dictatorial rule thought it wise to demand democratic reforms, more freedom, abolition of emergency law, the release of political prisoners, and an end to corruption. However, days later, the demonstration slogans gradually shifted towards the call for overthrowing the Assad government. By the end of May 2011, a peaceful protest, demonstrated by a call for change, resulted in the death of 1,000 civilians and 150 soldiers and policemen; among those arrested were many students, liberal activists, and human rights advocates. This war greatly affected the Syrian population and European movement, which resulted in a refugee and migration crisis.
The acting UN-Arab league joint special representative for Syria, Kofi Annan has been conducting negotiations and peace talks from January-April 2012 and May-August 2012 but, his plans were thwarted, as the Syrian armed forces, under the auspices of its leader Bashar al-Assad, continued attacking towns and villages, and summarily executed scores of people. For over 5 years, 5 months, and 3 days, the Syrian civil war has resulted in the killings of about 470,000 (SCPR estimate), and over 7,600,000 were internally displaced (UNHCR, 2015) with over 4,000,000 refugees (UNHCR, 2015). The war that started with an Anti-Assad protest in Baniyas in April 2011 between the government and some few protesters, who called for his removal, is now being fought among several factions: a loose Alliance of Syrian Arab Rebel groups, the Syrian Government, the Syrian Democratic Forces, Salafi jihadists groups, who often co-operate with the rebels, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
After Assad took over the country’s reign in the year 2000 from Hafez al-Assad, he made his country witness significant neoliberal economic reform, but this reform exacerbated disparities in wealth, which combined with a recession and slow growth. In addition, the international community has accused the Syrian government and other opposition forces of severe human right violations, causing considerable displacement of the population around the Asian and European continent. As of today, the Syrian government holds 40% of the land, ISIL holds around 20-40%, 15-20% is held by the Syrian Democratic Forces, 20% is held by Arab rebel groups (including Al-Nusra Front) but, the good news today, is that the Syrian Army and the Syrian Democratic Forces have made recent gains against ISIL.
Presently in Syria, the fighting continues, unabated but, on the 1 February 2016, a formal start of the UN-mediated Geneva-Syria peace talks was announced by the UN and constant aid continues to flock into Syria by international organizations and countries. Hence, the call for dialogue and action to be taken my both parties shall be welcome for peace to reign.
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