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The number of Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon has continually increased since the commencement of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Recent crises have developed within Syria, and have led to an influx of Syrian civilians seeking refuge behind Lebanese borders. The overwhelming amount of Syrians in Lebanon has resulted in a tremendous strain on the country’s infrastructure, economy, and culture as the government struggles to house and sustain the refugees. The Lebanese government has continued to accommodate the Syrians in hopes that a non-violent resolution to the Syrian crisis will be reached, although their prolonged presence has been met with apprehension and hostility by Lebanese citizens. The increase in the Lebanese population resulted in significantly more competition for employment, accommodation, health care services, education, and resources, such as electricity, water, and food.
The plight of both the Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees became known to major humanitarian organizations, such as the UN, and plans were made to provide support to the country’s residents. Since 2012, approximately $84 million has been provided as financial relief to Lebanon by the US. This financial benefit is intended to alleviate the burden and responsibility of the Lebanese government in delegating aid to the Syrian refugees within its borders. In addition to this, the UN, along with other international organizations situated in Lebanon, have taken initiative by administering necessary vaccinations, building rehabilitation centres, and improving access to clean water. Basic health care services, as well as education, have been delivered and provided to more than 160,000 children. Support has also been provided by the Lebanese communities that have acted as hosts to the refugees, in hopes of allaying tensions between the refugees and Lebanese citizens.
The refugee crisis in Lebanon will continue to grow as the civil war in Syria develops. The most appropriate resolution to the crisis is to assist Syria in resolving the conflict within its borders so that the displaced refugees in Lebanon are able to return to their country and alleviate the pressure on the Lebanese government as hosts for the refugees. The conflict within Syria consists of complex and convoluted relations between their government and the resistance forces. Although there has been a tremendous effort on the Lebanese government’s behalf to accommodate the refugees, they are unable to actively participate in the resolution of Syria’s civil war. Many humanitarian organizations, such as the UN, Mercy Corps, and ‘Save The Children’ have focused on providing fundamental resources and services to the Syrian refugees, while also making significant progress in aiding internally displaced Syrian civilians.
Numerous citizens have opposed Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria on account of their inflexibility in providing civil rights. This discrepancy between the interests of the government and its people became the catalyst of the civil war, which started in 2011. The civil war has continued for five years, with more and more countries, militia groups, and armies providing support to each side. The complicated dynamics between the Syrian government and the rebel forces suggest a prolonged conflict, with a continued increase of Syrians seeking refuge in Lebanon and neighbouring countries. The displacement of the Syrians will not be rectified in the presence of this conflict. At present, the free Syrian army, representing the rebel forces opposing al-Assad’s government, are being given the support of France, Turkey, the UK, and the US. Assad’s troops, Iranian troops, Hezbollah, and other militias are being supported by Russia, Iran, and Iraq. The opposing forces have spent years capturing and recapturing important locations in Syria, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties. In its current state, Syria is incapable of safely housing the millions of refugees that are residing in neighbouring countries. In the perspective of both forces, the country’s turmoil will not be resolved unless either side is provided with a large amount of military support in order to overwhelm the opposing force. This approach will lead to continued violent skirmishes and deaths.
Taking into consideration the current approach both parties have adopted to address the conflict, it can be understood that a more efficient, effective, and non-violent alternative can be put into action to ensure stability in the country. Peace within Syria will be imperative to the long-term development and maintenance of Lebanon as a country, as well as its economy and population. The potential solutions discussed take into consideration many factors affecting the Syrian civil war, including all of the parties involved and their affiliation with one another. Many organizations that have made an effort to aid the refugees and internally displaced refugees will actively support the solutions that have the highest chance of reducing the largest number of casualties. The United Nations have considered many of these non-combative alternatives, and are currently in the process of identifying the most effective solution in order to provide their support.
A peaceful end to the conflict may be reached by withdrawing any form of military intervention by external powers. This will reduce the number of soldiers directly involved in the war and, by extension, potential casualties. This will be done in hopes of influencing the other parties involved, as well as encouraging communication and compromise. Negotiations can be made regarding the policies the government upholds and endorses. To date, the Syrian government has offered the rebels a peaceful alternative to the conflicts. If the rebels decide to lay down their weapons and surrender to the government’s army, they will be granted amnesty and a chance to reintegrate back into society. The nature of this alternative is heavily desired by the UN, as it will sidestep an unnecessary amount of violence and deaths.
The primary major power involved in the war, being the US, has enough influence to forcibly take control over the conflict and instate western politics and government in the country, or a more suitable Syrian leader. With this amount of control over the situation, the US will commence with the delegation of the various domains in Syria to numerous political and religious groups associated with the civil war. This will be done in hopes of satisfying the major parties in the war and put an end to further conflict. Negotiations and compromise will then take place, and treaties will be signed to ensure the extended stability, peace, and maintenance of the country is prioritized. It must be taken into consideration that this particular course of action will be undesirable to the Syrian government, as it will result in the loss of their control over the country and its citizens.
Another alternative would be to provide the rebels with sufficient military support in order to lock the Syrian army and government, whereby an ultimatum is forced onto them. Bashar al-Assad will be forced to step down from his position of power, and the citizens of Syria will actively participate in the election of a new leader. All politicians and important members within the government will be pardoned and reintegrated into society, but will not be able to participate in any new politics. This resolution will result in a new government that will accurately represent and portray the ideas and ideologies of the Syrians.
The civil war in Syria is convoluted and exceedingly complex. The solutions discussed are tentative, and none mentioned are entirely absent of flaws. Consolation can be found in the fact that many organizations and forces are actively searching for the most realistic and non-violent solution to the war, and have thoroughly analyzed the aforementioned non-combative alternatives. Once a plan is implemented and used to solve the conflict in Syria, the Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey will be able to return to their country safely. The current strain on Lebanon’s economy and the government will only be alleviated when the conflict in Syria has been resolved.