Results for Category: Syria
In a matter of days, the US’ role and position in the war in Syria has been thrown into disarray, a relatively stable area of the country has turned into a battlefield, IS, which was all but eliminated, may be rallying, and Moscow and Damascus seem to be in a stronger position than they have for years. In the eight-year war in Syria, a new chapter has just begun.
It is not so much that Trump is fulfilling his election vow to pull US troops from Syria that is concerning. It is the way he is doing it: without any apparent strategy, without any protection for the forces the US army has been cooperating with in the war against ISIS since 2014 and without any concern for the rights of Kurds (and other minorities) in a post-war Syria. This leaves the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) and the SDF highly vulnerable. And it leaves the local population open to ethnic cleansing.
Tens of thousands of people who left the city before the final battle have now returned. But life is far from easy: most of the buildings are in ruins, there is no electricity and IS sleeper cells still pose a threat. Crucially, a lack of international recognition of the city’s civilian administration is hampering reconstruction.
Increasingly punitive measures imposed on Syria by Western states since the onset of the war in 2011 are having damaging consequences for the population without forcing the regime to accept any sort of political reforms. Even so, the United States (US) and European Union (EU) have stepped up sanctions in recent months.
There have also been reports that Turkey has provided additional weaponry for rebel forces, including TOW missiles that the United States (US) has to approve for release from storage. That the US would allow the insurgents to be bolstered in this way reflects its own opposition to a military campaign. However, this counter-escalation may lead to greater Iranian support for its Syrian ally.
Five million Syrians currently live outside Syria, and a similar number is internally displaced. Almost half of the working population is unemployed, and the remainder is facing poverty and starvation. About 300,000 people have died and about 250,000 are imprisoned or victims of forced disappearances. The army is fatigued and has fragmented into dozens of militias affiliated with various local, regional and international parties. ether official reconstruction programs are faced with threats of more sanctions and blockades on economic activities in the country.