Terrorism in Syria

by: Kristie L'Ecuyer

Relation to Topic

This investigation of terrorism in Syria will relate to the concepts of honor killings in the Syrian Civil War as well as the use of acid attacks that have escalated the war tactics.

The Syrian Civil War

The Syrian Civil War, also commonly known as the Syrian uprising, is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Syrian Ba'ath Party government and Free Syrian Army (FSA) protestors, who demand the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict began on March 15, 2011 and has developed into a war with many casualties.

Syria's Demographics

In Syria, the largest ethnic group are the Arabs, who make up 90% of the Syrian population. The next largest ethic group that make up 9% of Syria's population are the Kurds. Both of these ethnic group are categorized as Sunni Muslims, who have protested and complained over ethnic discrimination and denial of their cultural and language rights. The remaing 1% of the population consists of Amernians, Assyrians, Circassians, and Syrian Turkmen.

As for some of Syria's religious groups, the presidential al-Assad family is among the Alawite sect minority that consists of 12% of Syria's population. This family dynasty has maintained tight control on Syria's security services for over 40 years, generating resentment among some Sunni Muslims, a religious group that makes up about three quarters of Syria's population.

A Deadly Chemical Attack

On March 19, 2013, local witnesses and survivors in the Khan al-Asal area near the northern city of Aleppo reported a chemical weapon attack.The incident killed 31 people, including 10 soldiers, and wounded many more. In the immediate aftermath, the Syrian government and its opposition traded accusations.

Legal Action Being Taken

As a result of this incident, the United Nations have insisted that the Syrian government accept their request to send an investigation team into Khan al-Asal. The intent of this investigation is to collect evidence that could possibly discover what chemical substance was used in the weapon, in order to clear the present chlorine controversy. In the future, these discoveries could lead to a strong indication of who might have been responsible for the attack. In addition, the pending UN investigation result will determine the involvement of foreign countries in Syria, depending on whether or not the attack used a substance not ratified by the Chemical Weapons Convention. In addition, the UN Human Rights Council has called for Assad's government to be hauled up in front of the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Themes of Geography

Location: Syria is located at 34.85° N, 37.03° E. It is also south of Turkey, west of Iraq, north of Jordan, as well as east of Israel, Lebanon, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Place: Physically, the Syrian landscape is a mix of narrow coastal plains, desert plateaus, and mountains. In addition, Syria has a Mediterranean climate, with high temperatures in the summer and mild temperatures in the winter. As for its human characteristics, the diverse Syrian population officially speaks Arabic and relgiously practices Islam.

*Human Environment Interaction: As a result of the attack, the environment was negatively affected by the toxic chemical and killed, not only several people, but several animals as well as their habitats.

*Movement: The travel of the United Nation's investigators to examine the attack's aftermath is an example of movement, and will lead to further exchanges of communication.

*Region: Syria is located in the Middle East and Asia. In this particular incident, Syria's region has caused the Syrian Civil War due to its' politics.

Public Opinion

Currently, the Syrian public is trying to decipher who is at fault for the incident. For the most part, the government and its supporters have claimed that “terrorists,” referring to the rebels that have been fighting the regime for two years, had fired a “missile containing a chemical substance” at the village in retaliation for their support of the government. On the other hand, supporters and members of the opposition have accused the government of attacking its own people in order to smear the opposition.

My Opinion

In my opinion, both the government and opposition are at fault for letting their warfare tactics escalate so drastically that the number of casualities in the Syrian Civil War is rapidly growing.

In addition, I believe the UN needs to act as a mediator by intervining with military action as a resolution to prevent future chemical weapon attacks in Syria.

Text Works Cited

  1. Baker, Aryn. "Syria's Civil War: The Mystery Behind a Deadly Chemical Attack | TIME.com." TIME. Web. 2 Apr. 2013. http://world.time.com/2013/04/01/syrias-civil-war-the-mystery-behind-a-deadly-chemical-attack/?iid=gs-main-lead.

  2. Durham, Whit. "Syria: People." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.

  3. "Syria: Government." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.

  4. "Syria: Landforms & Climate." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.