In March of 2011 citizens of a small town in Syria protested the torture of students for anti-government graffiti. In response the government responded with strong force, which led to spreading protests around the country. A civil war had broken out in the summer of 2012. Religious sects play a role in the conflict as well. Sunni Muslims make up the majority of the rebels where as the Assad Regime belong to a sect called Alawite. The alawites are a minority in the country and are made up of the Syrian military and the elite class. The President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, has led serious crackdowns on demonstrations, used forceful tactics, and more recently his forces have killed thousands of civilians. Currently, tensions have escalated between Syria and Turkey after a Syrian bomb killed five Turkish civilians. The Syrian and Turkish border is experiencing much tension and because of Turkey’s membership with NATO this retaliation could potentially cause great outside involvement from foreign countries.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyaho, views the massacre in Syria as the fault of the Syrian government, along with Iran and Hezbollah. Israel is not in direct association with the opposition to Syria. However, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister has announced that Israel is ready to offer aid to any Syrian’s who escape to a country where Israelis can access. Israel’s Vice President, Shaul Mofaz, accuses Western countries of not providing enough intervention to stop the massacre. He especially holds Russia to this accusation because they have provided Syria’s government with weapons. Additionally, the Bashar Assad Regime is being accused by Israel, and other foreign countries, of using chemical weapons on Syrian citizens, including women and children. Currently, Israeli aid is being offered on the border of Syria and Turkey for those injured in the opposition.
The United States has not taken an active role in the fighting. They have provided nonlethal equipment and communication tools to the opposition against the Assad Regime. Jordan is an ally to the United States and collaboration work has been taking place regarding the Syrian conflict. In order to prevent the expansion, 150 US planners and specialists are now in Jordan helping them to handle the wave of Syrian refugees.
More than 21,000 people have died and some tens of thousands have been arrested. The Genocide Watch organization has issued a genocide emergency for Syria. A mutual agreement of understanding must be reached internally among the forces involved. The United States Vice Presidential debate, which took place on October 11th, covered the topic of the Syrian conflict and many other evolving issues in the Middle East. It will be interesting to see what difference the upcoming election will have on United States intervention with the Syrian conflict. What steps do you think can be taken to put an end to the bloodshed? Should the United States provide more intervention with the rebels?