By - Chalamba Kshetri
The most devastating Conflict of the 21st century
Nobody wants War and compromise the stability of Peace in the Modern Era. The ongoing 21st Century is constantly marked as the period of Globalisation, Advancement of Information and Technology and the rise of Global Economy. Although War and Violence have declined enormously as compared to the 20th Century, Genocide and Civil War still remains a serious concern of the Current Civil War in Syria and the Rohingya Genocide cases in Myanmar.
One of the most devastating Conflict that has occurred in the 21st Century is the Syrian Civil War. Leaving all the Evolution of the Developmental Process, Syria has been on a state of major turmoil since 2011. In 2016, The United Nations and Arab League Envoy put out an estimate of 400,000 people that had died in the War. Over a million injured and 12 million civilians have been displaced i.e, half the Country’s population.
Background of the Turmoil -
Even before the Conflict had erupted, many locals were driving nuts about Unemployment, Corruption and lack of Political Freedom under President Bashar- Al- Assad who succeeded his father, Hafez- Al- Assad, after he died in 2000. The Al- Assad family has ruled Syria since 1971 and established an authoritarian to totalitarian regime under the control of the Ba’ath Party. The Civilians had grown weary of these authoritarian regime.
Impact of ‘Arab Spring Uprising’-
The Arab Spring was a series of anti- Government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East in early 2011. It was an expression and resentment against the never ending Arab Dictatorships, Unemployment, Corruption, Price Hike and the brutality of the Government Security Forces. It’s epicenter of the movement was largely based on Tunisia and other Muslim Countries including Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Bahrain and Syria.
In March 2011, Inspired by the “Arab Spring” in neighbouring Countries, the Pro- Democracy demonstrations erupted in the Syria city of Deraa. However 15, Syrian school children were arrested and tortured for writing Graffiti that was inspired by the Arab Spring. One of the boys was killed. The arrests sparked outrage and demonstrated throughout Syria. Citizens demanded the release of the remaining children, along with greater freedom for all people in the Country. Contrary to the demand, The Syrian Government led by President Bashar- Al- Assad responded to the protests by killing hundreds of demonstrators and imprisoning many more. The unrest spread and the crackdown intensified. Opposition supporters took up arms, first to defend themselves and later to rid their areas of security forces. Hence, conflict between the Government and Protestors occurred. The violence rapidly escalated and Country descended into Civil War.
What is the Crisis all about?
It is now more than the battle between the President Assad and the Opposition. It is heading towards Sectarian Conflict, preaching animosity between Sunni Muslims majority against the President’s Shia Alawite Sect. Many Groups and Countries- each with their own agendas are involved, making the situation far more complex and prolonging the fighting. Such divisions have led both sides to commit atrocities, torn communities apart and ending hopes of Peace. They have also allowed the Jihadist or Rebel Groups, Islamic State (IS) and Al- Qaeda to flourish. Numerous factions emerged and one of them is Syria’s Kurds, who want the right of Self- Government but have not fought Mr Assad ‘s force, have added another dimension to the conflict.
Since the start of War , the situation in Syria became much more complicated, as other foreign countries and organised fighters have entered the scene. If we look categorically, the Syrian Government’s main allied are Russia, Iran, Hezbollah ( a militant group based in Lebanon). On the other side, The United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other Western Countries are described as supporters of Rebel Groups. Many newer Rebel Groups have emerged since the War began. These Conflict has encouraged terrorist organisation such as ISIS and Al- Qaeda to join the War. In the meantime, The World Community has condemned the Open intervention and Foreign backing of the ongoing Civil War in Syria.
Resultant of the Crisis-
The War has caused hundreds of thousands of death, 1.5 million people with permanent disabilities including 86,000 who have lost limbs. At least 6.2 million Syrian are internally displaced, while another 5.7 million have fled abroad. The Neighbouring Countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey had hosted the 93% of Syrian refugees, which they claimed that to have struggle to cope with one of the largest refugee exodus in recent history. Experts estimate that 13.1 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance, such as medicine or food. The War-ridden parties have made the problems worse by refusing aid agencies access to many of those in need. Syrian also have limited access to healthcare. Physicians for Human Rights had documented 550 attacks on 384 separate medical facilities by December 2018, resulting in the death of 892 medical personnel. Much of Syria’s rich cultural heritage has also been destroyed. The damaged include all the six Unesco World Heritage Site, which is considered to be the Country’s pride.
Will the War ever be settled?
Since 2014, The United Nations has hosted Nine rounds of mediated peace talks, known as the Geneva 2nd process. Despite this intervention, little progress has been made. The Negotiations failed despite mediation by several groups. President Assad appears unwilling to negotiate with the Opposition. The Rebels still insist he must step down as part of any settlement. Russia, Iran and Turkey have set up parallel political talks known as the Astana Process. But they have also struggled to make headway. One of the Jihadist is of the opined that, “ Civil War in Syria may end but the Crisis will go on forever”. Both the Syrian Government and Rebels appears unwilling to agree on terms of Peace. It does not look like the turmoil will end anytime soon, but everyone agrees a political solution is required.