Who is the current leader of the Syrian Government?
Who is the Syrian government's friends or allies?
We are discussing Syria again. It has been more than 7 years since the Syrian Civil war began and the situation remains grim.
Quick snapshot: Citizens protested Bashar-al Assad’s regime in 2011. The government tried to crush the rebellion with force. The chaos left in the wake of all this fighting left space for extremist groups like ISIS to gain some headway in the area. It also created a situation where global powers could pick and support Assad or the rebels. It has been 7 years of extreme hardship for the Syrians. 500,000 people have died, about 1 million have been injured, and about 12 million people have had to leave their homes in the region.
The rebels are now mainly concentrated in one area called Idlib, and it looks like the war may be on its way to being over. Read on to get the full story.
Why did the Syrian Civil War start?
The conflict began in 2011. Some teenagers had spray-painted anti-government slogans on a school wall. These teenagers were arrested and tortured by the Syrian government. Angry at the terrible way these young students were treated, people began protesting against the government.
The government used force to try and crush the rebellion. But instead of scaring the protestors, it made them more determined to continue fighting. Soldiers and rebels began clashing in cities, towns and the countryside.
Who are the parties involved?
There are different groups in Syria trying to take control of the country. There are mainly four groups involved in the fighting.
- soldiers who support the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad;
- various groups that do not want Assad to be in power – they are called rebels;
- a group of militants from the so-called Islamic State (ISIS)
- and a large ethnic group called the Kurds
But over the 7 years, the Syrian Civil war changed into a proxy or substitute war for international powers and groups in the Middle East.
Russia and Iran support the Syrian government. They will make sure Bashar al-Assad wins at any cost. Each of them has a personal reason to see him stick on.
The rebel groups initially included members of civil society and army defectors. Most of those people have been driven out. Now, there are several armed radical groups fighting. They only share one goal to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.
The US and its allies have shown their distaste for Bashar’s war crimes and have conducted military raids on the Syrian government as well as ISIS
The US also supports the Kurds who have taken control over a larger part of Northern Syria and have been successful in pushing out ISIS from the area.
Turkey in part is fighting against the Kurdish forces in the north and supports some of the rebel groups.
Fast forward to today. Initially, the rebel forces enjoyed a string of victories but over the years they have taken an absolute battering. Now the Syrian government headed by Bashar -al- Assad has taken back most of its country.
The war in Syria is about to enter its final stage. The Syrian government is preparing to attack Idlib, the last major area under rebel control. The province of Idlib is densely populated with a majority of civilians. More than half of the civilians have already been displaced by the armed rebel groups.
Friends of the Syrian government, Iran and Russia met last week at a 3-way summit to take stock of the situation. They agreed to use military forces against the rebels to end the war in Syria. Turkey, who was also part of the three-way summit, disagreed and pushed for a peaceful ceasefire. It has also stated that it would fight at the frontline with the rebel groups.
What has been the price of war so far?
According to CNN and Al Jazeera, there are close to 500,000 people dead, about 1 million injured, and about 12 million people who have had to leave their homes in the region. Half of them are refugees in other countries like Turkey and Jordan, and half of them have moved within Syrian borders, trying to save themselves and their families.
An all out charge will add to the existing humanitarian crisis. Is the end in sight? And at what price.
Written By: Biyash Choksey