“If you compare the amount of investment to fuel this war compared to the money to alleviate the impact of this war on the Syrians. The people who have bared the brunt of this crisis __ it’s very little,” argues Spokeswoman UNHCR, Rula Amin on the tenth anniversary of the biggest humanitarian crisis of the century. The conflict started just after the well-known Arab Awakening of 2011 and is still on. Though Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have gained control of two-thirds of Syria in these ten years, but a major chunk of the territorial grip is still in the hands of SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces). Hezbollah and a few other militias have their involvements too. Idlib is still neither in the hands of the Assad’s government nor SDF. It is controlled by various armed groups. And if Assad considers it a victory, it has cost him millions of Syrian lives and shelters. And of course, the international community has miserably failed in front of a dictator, calculating from any angle whatsoever, has further lost its credibility.
Lets’ start counting;
· As per most authentic sources, over a half million Syrians have lost their precious lives in these ten years’ conflict and crisis. UN reports that at a point it had become near to impossible to count the deaths and causalities as Syria is a war zone. This simply means that the death toll is still counting but the numbers are not reachable.
· Over 100,000 Syrians are missing. Who abducts whom, why, and takes him where are a few never answered questions. Government forces, alleged rebels, or terrorist groups are actively involved in adducting, torturing, and murdering these Syrians every day. “Unfortunately, there are people still being tortured and suffering in detention centers at this very moment,” argued Wassim Mukdad, a plaintiff.
· 12.5 Million, over half of the Syrian population, are internally and externally displaced. Many among them as over five and a half million Syrians are refugees. 3.6 Million Syrians are housed in Turkey, the largest number. Lebanon hosts 865,000, Jordan hosts 664,000, Iraq hosts 243,000, and Egypt hosts 130,000 Syrians as per December 2020 stats. Whereas over six million people are IDPs (internally displaced people).
· Over 90 percent of the Syrians live below the poverty line dependent on the destructed infrastructure.
Even though the Syrian Peace Process is gaining some pace at some level but that’s not vital so far. The war has already taken a decade and the humanitarian crisis in this pandemic is miserable in Syria. The Syrian burden has opened many doors of exploitation in the Middle East for sure. A delayed peace process does not worth it. It needs to be understood that lives have become cheap in this part of the world. And it is necessary to accelerate the important decision-making process.
It was not that complicated when it started. The conflict started between the Syrian military and rebels, the most prominent among them is SDF. Over years these rebels were backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar from the region. Whereas United Kingdom, United States, and France from outside the Middle East. Bashar-Al-Assad was then supported and militarily backed by Russia, who joined the theatre in September 2015, and later on by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Few other armed groups like the so-called Islamic State (IS), Al-Nusra Front, Jasih ul Islam, and others joined the struggle for power too. In a nutshell, this is how the Syrian crisis got worse every next day since 2011 and has taken a decade so far to be resolved.
The most lethal challenge IS was confronted with joint efforts. Today, IS is left without any mature centralization. But that does not make it an inferior threat as this group has strong ideological roots in youth. Even people across Europe and Asia are joining IS for self-claimed and self-styled Jihad in the region. The very group that had declared a caliphate in Raqqah is in debris for sure, but the relaxation time has not arrived yet for the powers want stability in the region.
“Until we see the externals confront each other directly rather than on the Syrian ground, I don’t see an actual end to the Syrian conflict.”
Furthermore, a few major powers want to settle their scores on Syrian soil. Russia and Iran against US and vice versa, Saudi Arabia against Iran and Turkey against the Kurds are sharp examples in this regard. An analyst argues rightly, “Until we see the externals confront each other directly rather than on the Syrian ground, I don’t see an actual end to the Syrian conflict.” Therefore, one cannot consider options available for peace until he does not draw his attention towards these externals creating more complexions in an already complex situation.
Why has it got so messy? Because wars are often not calculable. The Syrian crisis is no exception. The international community seems uncompetitive too. Because adventurism often gets riskier when any of the vetoes join the theatre. In this case except for China, all the remaining veto powers as that Russia, US, UK, and France are involved in this conflict. And if power is admired, it is hated too. Many fighters are against Bashar-Al-Assad not only because he is a tyrant or rules with an iron fist but also because these powers have marked their presence in the region. The wild card of religion is easy to cash in such scenarios. Foreign powers, specifically the ones who are the most powerful on planet earth drag more attention to the rebel mindset. In the case of Syria, it is easy to exploit the opportunities as America and its allies are already hated for killing Muslim brothers of the Syrians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Henceforth, making it a mission impossible for the international community to resolve the tensions in the region and in Syria.
To conclude, Syria is deep in the crisis. As usual, the cost is paid by the lower and middle class more than any other one. Bashar-Al-Assad’s presidency has cost a lot to the Syrians and the region. Cultural and historical sites have also been damaged in this decade. The human cost has been discussed in pretty much detail. And the peace process draws considerable attention from across the world and particularly across the region. The involvement of the actors and non-actors has also drawn more focus there. Therefore, it can be concluded that the Syrian crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis of the century so far and millions of Syrians have lived a millennium in this decade.