The Syrian Government’s Crackdown On Rebels In Deraa

As the threat of ISIS becomes less prevalent, another threat has unraveled from its shadow, killing civilians in plain sight: the Assad regime. The Syrian war still goes on with numerous factions at odds with each other. In an attempt to create a hyper-secular authoritarian state, the Syrian government has been cracking down rebel territories. A rebel held town called Deraa was recently subject to numerous air raids killing 20 civilians. Unfortunately, most of these civilians were innocuous women and children that have already been victims to other government attacks. Forces loyal to the Assad regime shelled the area clean for 9 consecutive days. A paramedic described the town as “completely burnt to the ground.”

This attack waged on the helpless proved that the Assad regime is willing to go unthinkable lengths to hold on to power.

Deraa is a small town that lies near Jordan’s northern border. This town played a vital role in the Arab spring as many youngsters took part by protesting the government’s actions. These protests were a strong catalyst to what we know now today as the grueling Syrian Civil War.

Syria’s deadliest weapon yet? Russia. With a seemingly endless flow of funding from Russia, attacking a rebel territory isn’t tough at all.  The key to the government’s successful strikes is destroying medical facilities. A couple of miles east of the province is home to numerous villages that have shown loyalty to different rebel groups and movements against the government. These villages have little development in them – already making it tough to survive in the midst of an ongoing war. Destroying medical facilities as well as homes does everything needed to increase death tolls as they purge resources. Even if villagers did survive the initial offensive attacks, they wouldn’t survive much longer due to a lack of foods and medical supplies to keep them alive. Russian forces brought Deraa to a state of devastation by targeting hospitals.

With constant attacks and lack of aid from international bodies, Civilians are left with no other choice but to run for their lives. The United Nations estimates that over 160,000 people have been displaced due to conflict in Deraa. Civilians attempt to flee the state but find themselves at odds with different countries that have different border policies: some lax and some extremely stringent. Jordan has been site of refuge for numerous people. The UNHCR has been helping people in Deraa by providing “tents, food, hygiene kits” but quantities are limited and aren’t enough to support the whole town.

Local NGO’s in Jordan have also been pitching forward monetary aid and other resources to those that successfully make it across the border. However, NGO’s and the UNHCR can’t fund this population of displaced people for long.

It is now up to individual governments to take this responsibility upon them to help mediate the issue as well as help those that have been affected by it. The end of 2018 will mark the war’s 8-year-long duration. While some threats have been diminished, others are slowly starting to find their hold in power. However, in the end, the war comes at the expense of innocent lives.

Aditi Mahesh