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.