The Syrian Conundrum
Author .. Vineet Karlapalem, Class 7, Vidyashilp Academy, Bengaluru
Section 1… Arab Spring
Arab Spring was a revolutionary wave of mass protests that rocked the Middle East starting 2010. These protests took place in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and finally engulfed Syria. This caused unprecedented instability in Libya, Yemen, and Egypt. President Assad didn’t flee like his counterparts in other Arab states. Instead, he stayed out and decided to fight back. Syrian government forces under him intervened with full force, and this has caused the single largest armed conflict in the world since the Vietnam War. The Syrian government under Bashar-al-Assad barrel-bombed major cities to scare civilians away from protesting. But, all this did was to show the callousness the Syrian government had towards its citizens. This started a three-way civil war between the Syrian government forces, the rebel groups like the Free Syrian Army, and the Kurds, who are fighting for their autonomous region between Iraq and Syria.
Section 2… Islamic State of Syria and Iraq
ISIS came to the world’s attention in June of 2014 when it overran the Iraqi city of Mosul, and then moved fast westwards to Syria, taking control of another major city Al-Raqqa, that became their de-facto capital. ISIS grew out of what was before, Al-Qaeda in Iraq. This organization was formed by extremist Sunni militants after the U.S-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2011, the group joined the rebellion against President Bashar-al-Assad in Syria where it found a safe haven and easy access to weapons. In 2013, it started capturing territory, and changed its name to ISIS. In 2014, ISIS captured huge tracts of land in north-western Iraq, and proclaimed the creation of a world-wide Caliphate. After the group started enslaving members of the Yezidi religious group, the U.S. was stirred into action and created a multi-national coalition to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Mosul and al-Raqqa. The coalition has launched a battle to reclaim Mosul. The campaign appears to be going really well forcing ISIS fighters to flee to al-Raqqa in Syria.
Section 3… Aleppo
Aleppo is an ancient metropolis, and the second oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, after Damascus, another Syrian city. It was Syria’s largest city with a population of 2 million 132 thousand, but this was all before the Arab Spring and the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. Now, it is a major site of conflict between Bashar-al-Assad’s government and anti-government rebels. It has now become the most important front in the Syrian Civil War, and will decide the fate of the government, if reclaimed or lost.
Section 4… Conclusion
The Syrian Civil War is a long, brutal war, and is dragging on very painfully. After four years, there are four different sides, with each side not having a decisive advantage over the other. It is a disaster, with no end in sight.