The Syrian war has been a catastrophe that has slowly developed, involving almost the entire world. Below is a Washington Post analysis, how it started, why it became so complicated, and what could happen next.
How did war in Syria begin?
In March 2011, peaceful protests broke out across the country as part of the Arab Spring uprisings. Organizers urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to make democratic reforms, but his government responded violently. In response, some of the protesters joined some soldiers to form the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group who wanted to overthrow the government. Until 2012, this armed struggle was transformed into a complete civil war.
What is Russia doing in Syria?
Russia has supported the Assad government for a long time. Russia helped build the modern Syrian army and Assad is one of Russia’s most powerful allies Vladimir Putin in the Middle East. They have often blocked international intervention over Syria by vetoing proposals at the UN Security Council and Moscow changed the course of the war in Assad’s favor with a military intervention in 2015.
Why is the United States involved?
The US has been reluctant to intervene in Syria but has acted for two main reasons.
ISIS began to develop and occupy pretty much ground in Syria in 2013. A year later, the US launched air strikes against the terrorist group. And recently he sent nearly 2000 ground troops to the war.
Who were the specific actions?
In 2012, President Barack Obama called the use of chemical weapons a “red line” that would spur military intervention. The following year, a Sarin gas attack in Eastern Ghouta killed nearly 1,400 people, according to the US estimation. Obama sought to intervene, but could not get Congress approval.
Instead, he came with a diplomatic solution. The UN Security Council ordered Assad to destroy chemical weapons stocks and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibited it from producing, collecting, or using chemical weapons.
And from that moment there have been reports of chemical weapons strikes. On April 4, 2017, nearly 100 people were killed in the northern city of Khan Sheikhoun in a sarin attack. The event “captured” the headlines around the world as well as President Trump’s attention, who expressed horror over the images of “innocent children, innocent babies” poisoned.
Just days after the attack, Trump authorized a missile bombing on a Syrian airbase. This was also the first direct US attack on the Syrian regime in the war.
Who are the main supporters in the region that help Assad?
One of the main allies of Assad is Iran. The latter needs Syria to move its weapons and armies across the Middle East. So when Assad seemed threatened, Iran came to his support. So did Hezbollah, Lebanese political party and militia, who is a close ally of Tehran.
It annoyed Iran’s rivals in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey. So they began sending weapons and money to anti-Assad rebels, including extremist militias. And Israel began to attack Assad’s airbases.
This means that today there are several warfares that are taking place within Syria. The Syrian government is still at war with the rebels. Israel is in the war with the forces supported by Iran and the United States are trying to eliminate ISIS.
How has life been for the Syrians?
Terrible. Syrian families often do not meet even the most basic needs, such as food, shelter, and medical care. Children can not go to school. War is taking place in cities and streets.
Since the beginning of the war, more than 465,000 Syrians have been killed, another 1 million have been injured, and 12 million – more than half of the country’s population – have been forced to leave their homes. More than 5.5 million have fled abroad and are registered as refugees.