Syrian War Crisis by faith hatcher

The first shots in the Syrian Civil War were fired during a peaceful Arab Spring protest in 2011. Innocent everyday people were caught in the crossfire, some injured or killed and everyone filled with fear. The war has grown to involve many other countries and many parties fighting for different causes.

Who are the parties involved?

There are four main groups fighting in the war. These are Assad, the president of Syria from 2000 to present day, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) a rebel group that seems to be fighting without a cause, the Syrian rebels, and the Kurds who are an ethnic group in the Middle East. There are many other smaller groups and other countries supporting these four main parties. The US is supporting the rebels and the Kurds by sending supplies and trying to train them to fight. However, The US is not directly sending troops in to the war. The gulf states, Jordan, and Turkey are also helping the rebels and Kurds by yielding supplies. There are also parties supporting Assad including; Iran, Vladimir Putin, and Hezbollah who is an Islamic militant group backed by Iran. Assad and his supporters are Shia Muslims and the rebels and their supporters are Sunni Muslims, except for the US who is a mainly Christian nation. Assad is losing his prevalence in the war as ISIS is only fighting the Kurds and the Syrian rebels. This has made all the other parties involved question who they should consider as their main target, ISIS or Assad. This is where the Syrian conflict can be considered a proxy war.

What is the history of the conflict and what important events have occurred so far in the war?

The president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad responded to the peace Arab Spring protest with violence. Hundreds died and many more were imprisoned at his power. A rebel group grew calling themselves the Free Syrian Army as they aimed to overthrow the Syrian government. One thing led to another and Syria found itself in the middle of a civil war.

In August of 2013 Assad used chemical weapons in the city Ghouta, this killed many people including men, women, and children. Using chemical weapons is a war crime and although this occurred no charges have been pressed against anyone. Areas of the city were hit with rockets containing the chemical agent sarin.

Another violent attack on the people of Syria in Hama left over 100 people dead when tanks and troops attacked protesters. The US and other countries must step in at this point. Barack Obama and the king of Saudi Arabia urged Assad to stop what he is doing.

Is September, 2014 the US led air strikes against ISIS in Syria. A year later in 2015 Russia did the same to non government groups.

What caused this war to occur?

Syria's past has always included a dictatorship as part of their government. This goes back to 1517 when Syria was under Ottoman rule. The country remained under this heavy rule until 1920 when the French took over. The French rule was still controlling for the people of Syria. In 1946 the country gained independence and united with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic. This only lasted until 1961 and a short time later Hafez al-Assad took power in 1970 and ruled ruthlessly until 2000. That is when his son Bashar al-Assad took over and promised that he would give the people more say in the country's decisions. These false promises are what led to the protests against the government. The people of Syria had been under control for too long and the Assad regime was the last straw. People were going to fight back against the government in order to achieve the change they wanted.

Not only this but many other countries in and around the Middle East were attempting to overthrow their government. Countries like Egypt and Yemen were able to get rid of their dictators with rebel power. In Libya the government fell after a civil war and with this many other countries began to turn violent against their governments all fighting for the same thing: economic change and more human rights. Syria found themselves wanting the same thing and thus began the Syrian Civil War.

What effects will the war have on Syria and other countries?

The war in Syria may have negatively effected the things the people of this country were fighting for. The economy of Syria has gone down as well as employment rates. The GDP (gross domestic product) in Syria has been declining since the war started in 2011. The unemployment rates in 2014 were at 33 percent and with all the people leaving the country this number is expected to keep dropping.

This is also an issue, Syria's population has dropped massive amounts because of all the people trying to flea the war. At the start of the conflict Syria's population was estimated at 23 million people and as of 2014 is was down to 17.06 million. Not only this but many people have lost their lives in battle or just trying to live out their daily lives. 400,000 people in Syria have died as of May 2016.

People are also worrying about the extreme violence of this war spreading to nearby countries. We know that the violence of other countries sparked rebellion against the Syrian government. What is stopping this cycle spreading to other countries in the Middle East and maybe even beyond that? With so many countries involved in this war what is stopping people from questioning their own government and trying to change it with violence?

Three men left dead from a motor attack at the Assad regime's hand.

The Syrian Civil war is a violent one involving many parties from all around the world. The war has become so complicated that people forget what they were fighting for and turn to senseless violence. From war crimes using chemical weapons on Syria's own people to rebel groups forming and fighting without a cause. How long will the war continue and what will be left of Syria when it does? Hopefully the people of Syria will end their dictatorship past and become a peaceful nation.

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