International Affairs

Syria Issue

Syria Issue
What is the unrest in Syria all about? The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria that is fought between the Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, and domestic and international allies, and domestic and foreign forces that are in opposition to the Syrian government and to each other. The civil war in Syria is regarded as the most brutal conflict in the world as of now which is continuing from 2011. What are the causes of the unrest? •The Shia and Sunni conflict: This is related to sectarian conflicts in the region that have been existing there for centuries. Shia Islam and Sunni Islam are the two major denominations of Islam. Saudi Arabia regards itself as the leader of Sunni Muslims and Iran considers itself to be the protector of Shia Muslims and the Syria region is divided under these two nations and ideologies. The largest religious group in Syria is the Sunni Muslims which constitutes almost 74% of the population, who claim that the president is more inclined towards Shia Muslims. The Sunni-dominated opposition has received support from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan, along with the US, UK, and France. •Presence of an authoritarian regime: There is no accountable democratic government in the region, which has created widespread discontent. Background The unrest in Syria is part of the 2011 Arab Spring protests and it grew out of discontent with the Syrian government. It escalated to an armed conflict after protests calling for the dismissal of the president were violently suppressed. The war began on 15 March with major unrest in Damascus and Aleppo. A lot of nations and organizations are part of this conflict, from nations such as Russia to organizations such as ISIL. All the involved parties- the Syrian government, ISIL, Russia and the US-led coalition- have been condemned by international organizations for enormous violations of human rights and uncountable massacres. The conflict in Syria has also generated a major refugee problem. The US support to the rebels in Syria has been said to be one of the causes behind the rise of the terror organization ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), which has become a global threat and has forced the USA to launch airstrikes in Syria. In 2013, the USA claimed that the Syrian Government was using Sarin Gas against the rebel groups and demanded UN investigation in Syria. Syria agreed to a Russian Proposal to not use Chemical weapons and declared that it had destroyed all the production units for the manufacture of such weapons. The UN began peace talks with the aim of ending the Civil War. The United Nations-backed international peace conference on the future of Syria known as the Geneva II Conference was held in 2013. However, it has not proved to be fruitful. What are the effects of the civil war? •Syria’s GDP today is less than half of what it used to be before the war. Economists have said that it could take more than two decades for Syria to return to its pre-conflict GDP levels. This has led to widespread poverty, stunted economic growth. •Uncountable Syrians have lost their lives since 2011. •Large-scale human displacement from Syria has resulted in a Global Refugee Crisis. •There have been monumental damage to infrastructure which will take years to recover. Where does India stand? India has maintained good relations with Syria and has been neutral to the Ba`athist regime. India had to abandon its oil investments in Syria due to the civil war. India also abstained from voting on a United Nations General Assembly resolution that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Syria. India has, however, called for peace and an end to the conflict in official statements to the media. The international community has condemned the foreign powers that are involved in Syria’s civil war and has been asked to stop financing the various sections of the rebels and the government and mediate talks on peace. There have been protests against the involvement of the USA and Russia who have been accused of reviving the cold war in the Syrian region. International organizations have asked nations to consider economic rehabilitation of Syria and an end to the civil war.

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