By Maitri Sisodia:
Civil war in Syria has been persisting since early 2011 and has been aggravating ever since. One of the major distresses in the Gulf world, the Syrian crisis is becoming more catastrophic with every passing day and has become a permanent fixture in daily news now.
The tension in Syria started in March 2011 in the form of peaceful protests by the Syrian citizens. These peaceful protests were ripples created by what is known as the Arab Spring, wherein many countries like Egypt and Tunisia started protesting against the persisting dictatorship in their respective countries. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of Syria; he succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad who took the rule of Syria through a military coup. The response of the government to the protestors in Syria cannot be described as anything less than monstrous. The protesters were kidnapped, raped, mutilated and their bodies were deserted on roads. All this turned a peaceful protest into an armed rebellion. The rebels started comparing the heinous reactions of Bashar to their protest to that of his father’s, who killed thousands of civilians in 1982 when the Muslim Brotherhood raised voices against him; thereby becoming more organized and starting to answer the violent ripostes of the government.
There is also a religious conflict between the government and rebels that is seen as one of the reasons for the Syrian civil war. A majority of Syria’s population are the Sunni Muslims, whereas the ruling Assad family, is Alawite (a branch of Islam), which is a minority. The Assad family gives special privileges to the Alawites and that makes the Sunnis feel oppressed. This situation has prevailed ever-since Hafez al-Assad took power over Syria and hence the two communities have started to hate each other. Alawites and other Shias fear their safety if Bashar al-Assad is ousted, and hence supports the government against the rebels. This has led the war to be of a sectarian tone; Sunni-led rebel forces have announced jihad against the minorities and target killing them.
Allegations against Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons for killing civilians have drawn international attention on this matter. Barack Obama, the US President, wants to interfere in the civil war against Bashar’s forces. Russia takes Syria as a strong ally and if the United Nations Security Council wants to do something against Assad’s regime, Russia vetoes it. Russia and Iran give weapon assistance to Assad’s government whereas Qatar and Saudi Arabia supply weapons to the rebels. International organizations have charged both the government and the rebel forces with blatant violations of Human Rights. The Syrian citizens live in constant companionship of blasts, terror attacks, breathing in bullets and deaths every day. An estimated 100,000 Syrians have lost their lives in this crisis.
Even if an International intervention is done to control the conditions in Syria, there will be a power-crisis in the country for a long time. The best way out that this war can end will be the government and rebels reaching a compromise, but sadly there is nothing of that sort in sight, looking at the ever-increasing death toll.