Syrian Civil War

by Stephan Gerve

Background: The War

During December of 2010, several Middle Eastern countries amassed a series of revolutionary demonstrations, irate protests, riots, and consequentially, civilian uprising and wars. This calamity, or the “Arab Spring”, was often described as a wave of civilian insurrections against their oppressive government, which Arabic people define as an “Intifada.”

Particularly in Syria, these protests were not demonstrated because of civilian’s religious bigotry against the government, but of the government’s oppression (especially of the torturous abuses to the young group of boys that sparked the uprising by spray-painting on school walls “down with the regime”) and failure to long-promised economic and political reform.("Syrian Civil") The president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, is who by most labels as “ruthlessly oppressive and cold-hearted.” Numerous reports of human rights violations committed by Syrian security forces against civilians has been surfacing for years, such as, use of deadly chemical weapons against protesters, extrajudicial killings and increasingly systematic use of violence by armed forces, mass arrests without reason, abductions and torture, degrading or inhumane treatment; repression of the freedom of peaceful assembly and violations of the freedom of information, (especially towards media reporters, journalists, and human rights defenders); besiegement of cities, and the practices of punishing civilians by restricting and denial of access to hospitals and emergency services, as well as deprivation of food and water. The reported results: deaths of over 210,000 people.("Bashar") The ongoing war remains the bloodiest conflict since the dawn of the Arab Spring.

The government is one story to discuss but the other are the rebels. The rebels are predominantly consisted of two groups: armed rebel groups (FSA, SRF, etc.) and the notorious Islamic extremists known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or the Levant, or ISIL (ISIS). The Syrians rebel’s agenda claimed any military or security force that attack the civilians as their enemy and said its goal was to bring down the Assad’s regime. Moreover, ISIL’s mission is intolerantly comparable – wanting to establish a caliphate in the region that includes Syria. These ostensible Islamists are obviously known for their human rights abuses and atrocities against kidnapped individuals, such as the James Foley, an American journalist who was executed on video by decapitation, or the video showing captured Jordanian pilot being burnt alive. Not only they’re an international adversary, but as well to their own faith. Furthermore, Syrian rebel groups (amusingly with U.S. support) may also have committed crimes against humanity. The UN calls Syria the “worst humanitarian disaster” and Forces Military Intelligence Director Aviv Kochavi says Syria has become a “center of global jihad”.("Syria Is") Syria’s economy has collapsed since the war started. With a GDP per capita of $3,500, Syria economy is one of the worst in the world; 80 percent of the country now lives in poverty.("Syria") Half of all school-aged children haven’t attended school in three years and 83 percent of the country’s electricity supply has been cut leaving many in darkness and fear. ("Bashar")

Military action?

CNN supports the use of military action and airstrike. In a particular article they stated that President Obama should use military force in Syria, believing military action against Syrian targets is the right step to take over the alleged use of chemical weapons. The proposed plan for Obama’s use of military action that was said to Congress was to “…deter, disrupt, prevent, and degrade the potential for future uses of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction”. (“Strike against”) CNN stated Obama’s call for congressional approval to strike Syria received support from both sides. (“Obama to”) This article was biased by selection of sources, only including statements from supporters, left and right, and leaving no room for the opposing opinion on the approval to use airstrikes.

Conservative opinion

For the use of military action in Syria, Peter Hart, writer for Truth-Out Online news outlet said “The US position that Syria must unilaterally give up its chemical weapons and missiles while allowing a powerful and hostile neighbor to maintain and expand its sizable arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is simply unreasonable. No country, whether autocratic or democratic, could be expected to accept such conditions”. (“The US”) Another writer criticized Obama not knowing what to do when Syria crosses the “red line” by using chemical weapons: “I mean, why did he draw the red line without knowing what he was going to do next”. (“Syria and”) He's clearly biased by spin and omission, only explaining this issue through a conservative basis and leaving out the opposing argument that also matters in determining the decision of military use.


“Bashar Al Assad: Criminal against Humanity.” FIDH. FIDH – Worldwide Human Rights Movement, 28 July 2011. Web. 21 Apr. 2015

“Syrian Civil War.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation. Web. 23 Apr. 2015

Shoichet, Catherine E., and Tom Watkins. "Obama Urges Military Action against Syria but Will Seek Congress' OK -" CNN. Cable News Network. Web. 4 May 2015.

Zunes, Stephen. "The US Has No Credibility Dealing With Chemical Weapons." Truthout. 9 Sept. 2013. Web. 4 May 2015. .

Hart, Peter. "Syria and the "Red Line" Nonsense." Truthout. 6 May 2013. Web. 4 May 2015.

The World Bank. "Syria." Overview. 1 Mar. 2015. Web. 4 May 2015.

Cohen, Gili. "Syria Is Becoming a 'center of Global Jihad,' MI Chief Warns - Diplomacy & Defense." 24 July 2013. Web. 4 May 2015. .