The War and Conflict in Syria - Expository Essay

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Middlebury College
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Over the last seven years, Syria has been on the brunt of an increasingly long civil war. This war began in 2011. The conflict started as what was seemingly a small internal uprising that occurred in a few towns throughout Syria. That small uprising has now culminated into a disgruntled war that looks to have no end shortly. The civil war has attracted the attention of influential countries, e.g. America, Russia, and Germany. These significant countries have in some way contributed either to its continuation or offered help toward the victims of the war. Syria’s civil war has resulted in one of the most significant refugee crises in the world. Five million people have fled from Syria into neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon. The majority of whom, are seeking asylum and better futures for themselves and their families. The civil war started mainly as President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime fought against rebels and radical groups who opposed his rule and eventually caused dissent. This war has indirectly led to the formation of the infamous ISIS terrorist group, and therefore made it a global crisis this article seeks to understand better and evaluate the crisis and conflict that is happening in Syria. The gathering of data for this article was done through carrying out interviews with three individuals who matter to this issue.

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The first person to be interviewed was Yousrey Abouleata. He is the security manager at United Nations. In the interest of gathering relevant information about Syria’s civil war, related questions were asked. These questions were to help gauge the impact of the conflict and have a better understanding of what was going on. Mr. Abouleata was asked a series of questions as follows:

  1. What was the UN reaction to the knowledge of chemical weapons?

  2. Despite the fact that there had been agreements on their stoppage, was the UN aware of their continued use of the deal?

  3. How did the conflict in Syria start?

  4. How did it culminate in a war?

  5. What was the UN Security Council doing? What was the endgame of Syria’s civil war?

Mr. Abouleata answered each of these questions methodically, therefore shedding much-needed light as to the confusion that was the Civil war in Syria. The UN cracked down on Syria upon knowledge of the use of chemical weapons. President Bashar was sternly warned by members of the UN council, i.e. Barack Obama to not cross a line by using chemical weapons. Despite this warning, a watch group manned by the UN filed a report that showed the regime was using chemical weapons, i.e. gas attacks and bombs on the rebel forces. This resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians. An agreement was signed to monitor the use of chemical weapons. A few months after these agreements, attacks showed that both the regime and the rebels were using chemical weapons. The UN was aware of the continued use of these weapons and came up with watch groups that were effective in their mandate to detect the use of chemical weapons.

The conflict in Syria started as a result of the Damascus spring, as was told by Mr. Abouleata. These springs were a result of citizens being dissatisfied with the current regime. These springs were a period in which there were intense political debates and activism following his father’s death. Bashar was unpopular and thought of as weak. Over the following ten years, the citizens of Syria became disillusioned, and Bashar turned Syria into an increasingly policed state. He was slowly cracking down on dissent and anti-government protests in various cities. The Arab spring throughout Tunisia and Egypt spread into Syria in 2011. This brought about a series of anti-government demonstrations, and Syrians painting anti-Bashar graffiti on walls. Assad blamed the protests on foreign conspiracies and vowed to crack down on terrorism and the protests with an iron fist. He also accused foreign nations of wanting to disrupt Syria’s stability.

Mr. Abouleata was skeptical about when the internal uprising culminated in war. He said it was a more gradual transformation with not much of an exact moment. Despite this, he says a critical turning point was when Bashar tried to end the protests by releasing political prisoners and allowing peaceful demonstrations. These protests however turned violent when soldiers shot protestors and killed thousands of people. The Syrian opposition then grouped and fought back. This attracted the attention of foreign world leaders. They, in turn, put pressure on Bashar to step down and effectively end the conflict. Mr. Abouleata shed some light on what the UN was doing to settle the matter. A special envoy had been made to intensify talks between rebel groups and the regime to quell the strife that had been witnessed over the years. Kofi Annan had been sent to mitigate negotiations of the agreement, but he failed. Mr. Abouleata was a tad unsure of the end game of the civil war in Syria. Because talks had failed, it was only up to the president to own up to his mistakes and take leave. He also chimed in saying that the involvement of foreign troops in the war just intensified the struggle instead of defeating it. An end to the conflict would be a withdrawal of external forces from Syrian soil.

A Syrian refugee was also interviewed as to the current state of Syria. Mr. Yusuf Mohamed who was turned into a refugee in 2013, was tearful as he remembered the impact the war had on him. Mr. Yusuf lost all his immediate family members and his arm. This was amid efforts of finding safety for him and his kin when the house in which they were in, was suddenly bombed during an air raid by the regime. Shrapnel from the bomb was lodged in his arm for days before hos could get constant medical attention. Yusuf is evident on his stand that Syria is an unsolvable state. Whatever remains of it is just a playground for ISIS, foreign troops, and the Syrian troops. Mr. Yusuf was affected by the chemical weapons that were used in his hometown, Aleppo. His breathing is labored and makes a wheezing sound coupled with severe coughs. As he further narrates, he is just but a fraction of the scores of people who have been affected by the war. He and thousands of other people have been forced to migrate to other countries to seek asylum. States where they are not sure they will be accepted into. The plight of refugees is further increased by the fact that they have to endure inhumane means through which they can gain access to other countries in Europe.

Mr. Ali Bassam was also interviewed. He works at a refugee camp in Lebanon. Lebanon has borne the brunt of Syria’s war. Over 1.1 million refugees fled into Lebanon, making it the highest most sought-after country. Mr Bassam is filled with pity for Syrians. As he said in the interview, the Syrians arrive at the refugee camp, dejected filled with pain sorrow, and anguish. This is owing to the death of loved ones and the disruption of their lives. Most of them come with just the clothes they are wearing. The situation at the refugee camps does little to improve their suffering. The refugee camp is faced with a dire shortage of necessities, thereby only offering a momentary reprieve from their pain. The majority of Syrians whom he has talked to, say that president Bassams regime was oppressive, and through its oppression led to the uprising that is ISIS. In a bid to quell the protests, the president let out jihadists and extremists who turned Syria into a war zone and sealed its fate.


Overall, the various foreign powers that included themselves in Syria’s internal conflict, primarily determined the turn of its development. America and Russia came into the war and supported different sides, therefore fueling more foreign nations to help the rebels in ousting the president or support the president in silencing the insurgents. These intervening nations fueled the war and discarded human rights and any hope of peace in the ongoing turmoil in Syria. Because talks failed and agreements could not be made, the state of Syria is mostly unclear since no further developments in quelling the war have been made.

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