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The ongoing Syrian civil war: A 2020 status update

The current ongoing civil war in Syria has left a merciless red stain on humanity’s history. This restless war has wreaked havoc in the middle eastern country for almost all of the last century, leaving in its wake an uncountable and unimaginable number of horrors. With survivors left to tell the corpse’s tales, the future of Syria remains uncertain even if the war itself is finally beginning to unfold.

A brief history of the Syrian war

No one would’ve imagined that the anti-government protests of which began on March 15, 2011, was enough to ignite a flame that begins such a nightmare fueled with the national army, rebels, ISIS, Russia, the USA, Hezbollah, Turkey, Iran, and even China.

In March 2011, the government not only arrested a group of teens and children for drawing anti-government graffiti but it also brutally tortured them. That day, the government ended up even murdering a 13-year-old kid and spilling the blood of almost a dozen civilians. During the next few days, the Syrian citizens started retaliating against the corrupt system which caused the government to strike back. Thus, other countries started to step in. The US imposed some new economic sanctions on Syria, the EU banned the import of Syrian oil, the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership, all while the UN tried with no avail to issue a call for an immediate halt to the crackdown in Syria. Even though 9 of the 15 UN states voted in favor of a resolution, both Russia and China veto against it, siding with the Syrian government. So By 2012, this armed struggle had devolved into a full-blown civil war. However, during 2013 and 2014 a new group called IS emerged and seized large swathes of territory in Syria. With several rebel groups, the IS, Hezbollah, the Syrian military, us troops, Turkish troops, and Israel, Syria became a host to many mini-wars that all collaborated to form what is now known as the Syria civil war. 

The civil war’s casualties

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, by 2020 almost 586,100 were killed in this war. That is about 2% of the country’s population before the war.  These statistics include the 22,075 of murdered children and 13,704 of killed women.

Also, Syrians are considered to be the largest forcibly displaced population in the world with more than 13 million people refugees scattered around the entire globe. It is no exaggeration to say that more than half of the population is currently displaced in foreign countries.

In addition, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) declared that the war had cost the country close to $400 billion. Schools, infrastructure, hospitals, and many institutions were completely destroyed. Therefore, rebuilding this war-torn nation will be indeed very costly.

Syria in 2020

Currently, the rebels and anti government movements seem to be on the losing side. With the support of Russia, Iran, and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, the Assad regime has managed to successfully reclaim 70% of Syria. However, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the US have continued still to maintain a military presence inside the country.

Meanwhile, lethal fighting broke out between Russian and Turkish forces in Syria’s northwestern region of Idlib. Forcing almost 1 million people to flee their homes. 

But as the COVID-19 crisis reached Syria, An agreement to the ceasefire was formed between Russia and Turkey. 

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated in March that “A decade of fighting has brought nothing but ruin and misery”. then added “There is no military solution. Now it is the time to give diplomacy a chance to work.”

Additionally, even though the Islamic State was defeated in the Syrian village of Baghouz last year, there appear to be some remnants of the terrorist group inside Syria. In March 2020, several members of Islamic State were successful in escaping from their prison after provoking a riot and seizing control of a part of a large jail in north-east Syria.

Even after a decade of fighting, there is still no peaceful solution to stop the war. The tides are now tilting towards the ruthless  Assad regime’s victory. His victory would ensure that all the bloodshed the country faced would mean nothing. However, with the increasing reports of positive COVID-19 cases in Syria, it is certain that the country isn’t ready to enter another year of fighting.

References: 

Brutal war in Syria enters 10th year as Assad regime consolidates power. (2020). Retrieved 17 April 2020, from https://www.france24.com/en/20200315-brutal-war-in-syria-rumbles-into-its-tenth-year

Research, C. (2020). Syrian Civil War Fast Facts. Retrieved 17 April 2020, from https://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/27/world/meast/syria-civil-war-fast-facts/index.html

Syria’s worst humanitarian catastrophe in its 9-year civil war is now unfolding. (2020). Retrieved 17 April 2020, from https://www.vox.com/2020/2/24/21142307/idlib-syria-civil-war-assad-russia-turkey

What is ‘Islamic State’?. (2020). Retrieved 18 April 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29052144

The Syria Civil War Might Be Ending, but the Crisis Will Live On. (2020). Retrieved 17 April 2020, from https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/insights/28041/the-syria-civil-war-might-be-ending-but-the-crisis-will-live-on

What’s happening in Syria? – CBBC Newsround. (2019). Retrieved 17 April 2020, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/16979186

. Retrieved 18 April 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/04/12/syria-explained/

Syria’s civil war explained from the beginning. (2018). Retrieved 18 April 2020, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/syria-civil-war-explained-160505084119966.html

agencies, T. (2018). Cost of Syria war destruction almost $400 billion, UN estimates. Retrieved 18 April 2020, from https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/8/8/cost-of-syria-war-destruction-almost-400-billion-un

Refugee Statistics | USA for UNHCR. (2020). Retrieved 18 April 2020, from https://www.unrefugees.org/refugee-facts/statistics/

Islamic State prisoners escape from Syrian jail after militants riot. (2020). Retrieved 18 April 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/30/islamic-state-prisoners-escape-from-syrian-jail-after-militants-riot

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