Arguably the biggest refugee crisis in the world right now, the diaspora created by the Syrian civil war is numbering in the millions. A constant flow of people are seeking asylum daily in neighboring countries like Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and many European nations. The war played a significant role as a source of instability in the Middle East, and the consequences have resulted in it becoming one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern day history.
Making up more than a third of the global refugee population, in 2019, UN reported that nearly 5.6 million Syrians fled the country to seek refuge, and an estimated 6 million civilians have been internally displaced within Syria. Turkey currently houses nearly 3.6 million Syrian refugees, 98% of whom are living outside of refugee camps and struggling to make ends meet.
The religious disputes and existing economic disparities under President Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian government, along with the 4-year drought, pushed the citizens to carry out pro-reform nonviolent protests in March 2011. However, the regime’s harsh military action against the protests resulted in a pro-democratic insurgency against the government, escalating into a full-blown civil war between the Syrian president’s regime and the opposition.
Assad’s regime, backed by Russia and Iran, had full control of the Syrian Arab Army whereas the insurgent forces consisted of the Southern Front, the Kurdish-dominant Syrian Democratic forces and a group of Syrian Arab Army defectors. The support and intervention from USA, Germany, Turkey, and other Arab nations for the anti-government rebels, based on their personal motives, led to a prolonged proxy war. The provision of arms, training, as well as forces, aided the opposition in combating the Syrian government. The conflict had 3 core fronts joint efforts to fight the Islamic state (a radical Sunni Islamist militant group), violence between the Syrian government and opposition, and campaigns against armed Syrian Kurds by the Turkish forces.
In 2013, the Islamic state began seizing territories in Syria. A series of calculated, organized terrorist attacks across Europe in 2015 prompted USA, UK, and France, with the support of other middle eastern countries, to expand their air campaign in Iraq to include Syria. Whilst they proceeded to conduct more than 11000 air strikes against Islamic state targets in Syria, they also continued to support the Syrian insurgent forces against the government. Since 2016, Turkish troops have also been involved in conducting operations against armed Kurdish groups in Syria. The Syrian government’s request for Russia’s involvement also led to a series of air strikes conducted by Russia against what they claimed were Islamic state targets.
The two main opposing sides continue to fight, with the Syrian government steadily gaining control of territory from the opposition forces. They have been accused of using chemical weapons several times, which has brought international criticism upon numerous occasions over the course of the conflict. The opposition forces have managed to maintain limited control in Idlib, northwestern Syria and on the Iraq-Syria border. Several rounds of peace talks at the UN and, later in Russia, have remained unsuccessful as the government and the opposition leaders refuse to find common ground to settle on.
Amidst all the politically motivated confrontations between the various parties that are involved in the war, civilians have had to face the brunt of the devastation brought by the militarized operations. Families have been torn apart and brought to poverty, forced to flee their country, and start anew in alien environments with the little that they managed to salvage from the ruins of their once beautiful homeland. Despite the funds provided by countries to support the refugee camps, countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and more, find it difficult to rehabilitate such a large number of displaced people who do not speak the language, or understand the culture and, thus, has resulted in most camps lacking basic necessities such as clean water, shelters etc. Humanitarian organizations have also been engaged in gathering donations and volunteering to visit the camps.
However, as the conflict continues to plague the region, the people of Syria continue to suffer as collateral damage, which, not only becomes an issue for the countries offering refuge to these people who have lost everything, but individually, they yearn for the comforts and familiarity of their country, and live for the rest of their lives trying to cope with their trauma.
The triumvirate of UK/France/America carved out the Middle East to NEVER be stable because what follows STABILITY is GROWTH and then STRENGTH.
If you include groups that were not necessarily at odds with each other BUT had different viewpoints and interests you assure the necessity of outside support.
You might ask yourself if the “instability in the Middle east” is a CONSEQUENCE or an OBJECTIVE? Was the intervention by America and Europe a reaction or the REAL UNDERLYING CAUSE/PURPOSE?
Maha Attique, Turkey