By Banke Sorinwa, Blog Writer
“War does not determine who is right only who is left” –Bertrand Russell
Syria is consistently in the news lately as it is marred by destruction and terror. Over 3 million people have fled the country since the start of the conflict, most of them women and children, in one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history. The number of refugees, both internal and external, totals more than 11 million due both to the ongoing civil war in Syria as well as the increasing threat of Jihadist militants from the Islamic State (IS).
The Syrian war was triggered by protests in Syria demanding the resignation of President al-Assad. As supporters took to the streets, there was a gradual spread of arms used to defend themselves and also their communities. The conflict has been complicated by other countries “taking sides”, with Iraq and Russia expressing their support for al-Assad’s regime. There have been speculations that Iraq and Russia are working in cognizance with Assad.
The White House, on the other hand, has declared its desire for an end of President al-Assad’s rule. The United States (US) is also aiding local Kurdish guerillas. The problem with that strategy is that neighbouring Turkey, which has pledged to help in the fight against IS militants, has also launched a violent crackdown against its own Kurdish separatists. There is no lack of allies against both IS and al-Assad.
In the midst of all this, a resolution to the conflict seems distant. The advance of the IS in Iraq has shown that the war is spreading across the Middle East and is not contained to Syria. The millions of Syrian refugees and the sectarian animosities engendered by the conflict are destabilizing Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey as well. Currently, the European Union (EU) faces a high influx of refugees from the region and there is a call for all EU member states to support the national authorities who are taking on massive numbers of refugees at their borders. The world is a global village, assistance should be provided to those in need, however key refugee arrival points such as Hungary have used tear gas and water cannons against refugees to deter them from entering the country.
The United Nations needs to be more decisive in their response to the conflict, and especially in coming up with a cohesive and humane strategy to address the urgent refugee crisis. More calls for action, awareness activities and the provision of more refugee camps are some of the activities that humanitarian organizations have undertaken and their missions are better served with more coordinated international support. Member nations should take a stance in supporting more humanitarian programs so that refugees can be well cared for instead of focusing on which side of the conflict to support militarily. The fight should be for world peace instead of world wars.