Written by Matthew Harper. Media by Bobby Williams.
Over two years ago, protests started in Deraa, a town in southern Syria, and, despite the peaceful nature of the protests, President Bashar al-Assad responded with force. Due to his regime’s extreme reaction, the protests spread, and things have finally spilled over into a civil war (BBC News).
Although the initial protests two years ago were peaceful, the rebels are far from it now. Besides the large number of Syrians fighting Assad’s government, large numbers of foreign jihadists are now entering Syria to aid in taking on the regime. These extremists are complicating matters a great deal, as Assad is using them to show that, if he gets knocked out of power, these radicals will then take over Syria. The problem here lies with the fact that Britain, France, and the United States aren’t remotely friendly with Bashar al-Assad or his allies and had at one point been considering ways to aid the rebels. It would obviously be a terrible political move for those nations to help the side that the jihadists are also helping, but they initially intended to aid the rebel forces who are badly outclassed because Assad’s allies in Iran and Russia are aiding the government forces. A suicide attack on a pro-government mosque by the jihadists aiding the rebel forces has all but guaranteed the United States and other major Western powers will try to avoid being linked to groups taking such radical measures.
The suicide bombing, which occurred on March 21, killed 42 people, and has turned many people formerly siding with the rebels against them. The mosque was located in central Damascus, proving just how serious this civil war is becoming.
Complicating things further is the spillover of this Syrian conflict in the region. Refugees are pouring into neighboring nations, but sadly so is some of the bloodshed. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced his resignation Friday, citing Lebanon’s need to distance itself from the chaos in Syria. That distance isn’t being created, though, as people have started to be killed in Lebanon by people either standing with or opposing the rebels taking on President Assad and his forces. Mikati’s resignation is hoped to open up “new dialogue” between the political camps in Lebanon (Reuters).
The situation surrounding Syria, then, is growing more and more desperate. The fighting doesn’t seem to have any chance of stopping soon, and, with new radical and unfortunate measures being taken by both sides in the conflict, it’s not likely that outside forces are going to decide to help either party, be it financially or otherwise.