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.
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In short though, it is evident that Russia exerts more influence on the whole in our region than Iran, whose role as a broker of reconciliations would have been rejected by most of the people in the south, who are suspicious of what they see as Iranian attempts to spread the Shi’i religion and its political ideology.
Social media has been full of videos depicting the abuse of Syrian children, including a video showing a Lebanese man encouraging his son to beat a Syrian child, another video of a man insulting and torturing a Syrian child, as well as reports of human trafficking, prostitution and drug networks that exploit the circumstances of displaced persons. However, the hate speech against Syrians has escalated in recent months as politicians and other officials have blamed Syrians for the unemployment and economic crises facing Lebanon.
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.
Critics charge that the survey by Dubai-based public relations firm asda’a bcw focussed on the 18-24 age group was flawed because it gave a greater weighting to views in smaller Gulf states as opposed to the region’s more populous countries such as Egypt, used small samples of up to 300 people, and did not include Qatar, Syria and Sudan.
Today, life is still difficult in many respects. Water is supplied from a place called Ain Dhikr to the north, but we still have no electricity and must continue to use solar panels to generate power for the time being. The JKBW’s presence also meant that some houses and other buildings were booby-trapped with explosives. Like other areas in Syria, we have been impacted by the fuel crisis caused by American sanctions.