The Syrian War and Disruption In Aleppo
CU DENVER STUDENTS SPEAK UP ON THE REFUGEE CRISIS
Over the course of the last five years, issues in Syria grew from political distress to the incineration and destruction of the cities and lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians. The issues arose in out of political disinterest between the people and the Assad regime. Now, after gradually increasing conflict, the crisis surrounding Syria and Syrian refugees escalated past the point of repair in December of 2016.
The country found itself in a modern day civil war. The Syrian government regime fighting the Syrian rebels, who are backed by the US and other key countries including Turkey, the UK, and France. The Syrian rebels have been fighting for the freedom of their people under the claimed dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.
Over the last few years the country has seen the utter destruction of Syria’s cities, most notably the country’s capital, Aleppo. Aleppo, over the country’s lifetime, has been at the epicenter of economic functionality, but its destruction has heavily impacted any sort of last breath the Syrian economy might have.
The world has watched atrocities committed towards the Syrian people—most notably, the use of poisonous gas, the displacement of hundreds of thousands of citizens, and the slaughter of Syrian citizens. According to The New Daily, “In mid-2015, the UN conservatively estimated 210,000 people had died in the Syrian Civil War, with more than half of them believed to be civilians. The latest UN estimates were that 400,000 people had died.”
The events in December 2016 sparked an outcry from an international stage. According to The Telegraph, military police in Syria called on the British government to enforce a cease-fire after 100 children were trapped under a building that had been bombed and 80 civilians were said to have been executed. The circumstances arose after a heavy fight between the Syrian government and rebels over the city of Aleppo.
The humanitarian crisis surrounding the war-torn country is believed by many to have been overlooked by the world. CU Denver’s Nadeen Ibrahim has firsthand experience with the crisis. “The world is not doing enough by any means to address the Syrian refugee crisis and the human rights violations the Assad regime and ISIS are carrying-out against the Syrian people,” Ibrahim said. “Several advocacy agencies have confirmed war crimes and human rights violations against the Syrian people, but no sense of follow-up from the United Nations.”
The crisis in Aleppo is also having a huge effect on the people advocating for the safety and resettlement of Syrian refugees. “Honestly, the humanitarian crisis in Syria is emotionally draining and paralyzing for me as a citizen who does not have the leverage to demand the United Nations prioritize the human rights and freedom of the Syrian people,” Ibrahim said. “Hospitals have been bombed and towns have been under siege with no access to basic necessities. With more than 250,000 lives lost and more than 6 million displaced, this human rights crisis and injustice must end with the Assad Regime, Russia, Iran, and ISIS brought to trial in the International Criminal Court.”
Ibrahim shed light on her experiences working with those who have been displaced due to the Syrian Civil War. “I had the privilege to serve refugees in Lesvos Island, Greece over winter break, where I witnessed more than six thousand individuals from throughout Africa, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan struggle to survive,” Ibrahim said. “They were all waiting for asylum in Europe, but with the recent EU-Turkey deal, the EU borders are closed with a very slow, long resettlement process. Families have been trapped on the island for months in a once-active prison.”
Worldwide media has also focused less on actual displaced Syrians and other refugees and more on the growth of ISIS and terrorism as it plays a role in the Syrian crisis.
“These conditions can only be known if you witness them or hear about them on the news every couple of months,” Ibrahim said. “With that, it is frustrating and upsetting to see more of the media focus on ISIS rather than on the millions of internally displaced Syrians and Syrian refugees.”
With the focus on the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a stronger sense of Islamophobia has risen to the forefront of westerner’s views on foreigners and foreign policy. “With the continuous rise of Islamophobia and media misrepresentation, Muslims around the globe are, at times, grouped into a Muslim minority of less than one thousandth of a percent, ISIS,” Ibrahim said. “This is frustrating to refugees and Muslims around the globe, as more than 95 percent of the individuals murdered by ISIS are Muslims.”
President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20. As a part of Trump’s foreign policy he has sworn to pull all US backing and support of the Syrian rebels. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Trump said, “Russia is now totally aligned with Syria, and now you have Iran, which is becoming powerful because of us, and aligning with Syria. Now we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who those people are.”
In a counter-opinion, Ibrahim voiced her views on the points that Trump has made. “With Russia being responsible for some of the attacks on Syrian civilians and President-elect Trump’s connections to Russia, I am very concerned about the US’s foreign policy as it applies to Syria,” Ibrahim said. “With this conflict of interest, the US will not be able to prioritize the protection and freedom of Syrian people. President-elect Trump has stated on several occasions that he plans to halt refugee resettlement from countries that host terrorist groups like ISIS. Ultimately, I want citizens of the US and the rest of the world to demand human rights and freedom for all who are oppressed, especially the refugees.”
The recent Aleppo crisis that transpired in December is yet another dark day in recent Syrian history, and the complete disregard for human lives has many wondering when the Syrian war will be dealt with. People can watch television and other news outlets for as long as they please, but a change won’t happen until a movement is made.
Photo courtesy of Newsweek