Bloodshed in Syria Continues

(Article No. 12 – The Vincent Times)
February 19, 2013


The armed conflict between opposition forces and the loyalists of the Syrian Ba’ath Party government  and President Bashar  al-Assad continues to escalate resulting to indescribable suffering among Syrians.

The opposition vowed to continue their struggle until Assad steps down. On the other hand, Assad declared that he has no intention of resigning for he must defend  his people and the sovereignty of his country. Both parties claim to be victorious at the end.  With neither of the two parties willing to offer  peace,  an end to the conflict is nowhere in sight. The carnage will continue.

Extent of Damage

Statistics gathered at the beginning  of  2013 indicate that the 23-month old conflict has  already claimed more than 45, 000 lives. The latest figure given by the UN  as to the death toll in the Syrian civil  war is 60,000.

The civil war in Syria has also resulted not only to death but also to looting and destruction of properties. Many of the country’s  existing infrastructure, which took years and a lot of resources to build,  especially in the regions controlled by the opposition, have been in ruins.  Most of the damage was inflicted by shelling, looting and army occupation.

Even important World Heritage sites  like  the archaeological villages of Northern Syria and the Krak des Chevaliers were not spared from the indiscriminate shelling coming from both the opposition and the government forces.

Thousands of Syrians were forced to take refuge in neighboring countries. They  have to chose between facing uncertainties in their war-torn country or endure inhuman conditions in refugee camps. They opted for the latter praying incessantly that the civil war in Syria ends soon.

Aside from trying to survive the armed conflict, in some areas of the country the Syrians have to contend with some health problems also.

The World Health Organization reported that  there were reports of a typhoid break-out in regions held by the opposition. People in the said areas are drinking contaminated water from the Euphrates River. It was estimated that there are around 2,500 people in north-eastern province of Deir al-Zor  who are infected with the fatal contagious disease which causes diarrhea.

Elisabeth Hoff, a representative of WHO, said that the reason the people are forced to drink water from the Euphrates which is contaminated is because there is not enough fuel or electricity to run pumps to produce clean water.

Foreign Assistance to the Opposition

The general contention is that without foreign assistance the opposition in Syria can not hope to win the armed struggle. Assad’s forces have at their disposal the resources of the Syrian government and the alleged supply of arms from Russia.

Aside from what has been perceived as not so strong a leadership, the forces trying to overthrow Assad  lacks the firepower to pose  a serious threat to the loyalist forces.

The New York Times reported that US president Barack  Obama who did not commit to arm Syrian rebels might reconsider his position. Some countries in the West are said to be supplying the opposition forces with arms clandestinely.

The Fruits of the Arab Spring

The conflict, now a full-blown  civil war,  started on March, 2011.  It began with nationwide demonstrations demanding the resignation of Assad. The said nationwide demonstrations was inspired by the so-called Arab Spring.

The Arab Spring,  a series of democratic uprisings which started with the “Jasmine Revolution” in  Tunisia  in 2010 and spread across the Arab world  and some parts of Africa in 2011, so far, has resulted to the overthrow of rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. It also ignited civil uprisings in Bahrain and major protests  in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Sudan.

It is widely believed that Arab Spring was triggered by the Arabs getting tired of dictatorship and absolutely monarchy, human rights violations, poverty  and corruption among politicians particularly in the local front.

What used to be just protests in Syria has now turned into a bloody civil war. Observers are one in saying that Assad is seemingly unmindful of the  horrendous loss of lives and pointless   destruction of properties.  Assad does not intend to be included in the lists of despotic rulers overthrown by the springing of democratic zeal among the Arabs.

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