Examining Syria and its Civil War

A map of Syria

A map of Syria

Syria is a relatively new nation with an ancient and tumultuous history. After gaining independence in 1945 as a parliamentary republic, it became one of the founding members of the United Nations; doing so also ended the French mandate over the nation. Syria has had a long series of coups and the government has reacted by becoming increasingly oppressive and non-democratic, leading to many violations of the citizen’s rights along with basic human rights. There were a long period of peaceful protests that turned into violent rebellion and consequently civil war when the government began to violently shut down the pro-democratic opposition. This civil war has led to the growth of an opposition party developing a new government to combat the current dictatorship-like political situation. While the civil war started in 2011, different players have entered and added more conflict to the region; ISIL entered Syria and Iraq and took control of major areas including oil production in 2013. The UN’s 2012 report stated that the conflict was “overtly sectarian in nature”, which the Sunni rebels and government deny; the situation is considered a proxy war as many foreign forces have been getting involved. Recently, Syria has been in the news often as the war crimes escalate, and millions of refugees have fled to the neighboring states of Jordan and Turkey (although this may no longer be a safe haven as political unrest grows), as well as to European and American nations.

Syrian Death Toll


While possible resolutions have been briefly discussed in the United Nations, there has not been any consequential work done. Syria itself is in a very violent state with many huge players taking part; the international community is focusing now on the human rights violations taking place. The thing that has been recurring in major news is the ‘inability’ of many developed, western nations to accept and provide services for refugees. The people who are able to escape have lost everything that was their own and rely heavily on the destination that they must escape to. As for the UN, there has been little action taken to provide protection or end conflict (although the mechanism to do either of those things would be incredibly complex); and western nations (specifically the US) along with the UN are being criticized for their stagnation in providing assistance to refugees (although the US has been involved in military action).

US Airstrikes


Some of the action taken has been from the Responsibility to Protect- a coalition that was formed in the 2005 World Summit. They have set aside guidelines that must be met in order to bring a resolution to the Syrian conflict:

Getting updated and accurate information about the Syrian conflict has been increasingly difficult as media sources have been cut off by the government. Signs of a resolution are not very apparent at this point while the war becomes increasingly violent and accounts for high numbers of human rights violations. However, although delayed, the international community has been more and more outraged and has begun interfering with the situation.



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