Amidst the utter destruction, chaos, and terror that has been brought upon the people of Syria, the cause of the conflict has fallen by the wayside. Syria is now a geopolitical playground for the world’s powers, with over 80 countries officially involved with almost as many different agenda’s for joining the fight against the new ‘Face of Terror’, Daesh. An evolved form of Al Qaeda’s off-shoot in Iraq, the brutal regime Daesh has brought to much of Syria and Northern Iraq has decimated ancient societal bonds, simultaneously hijacking a revolution of a long oppressed people for it’s own demonic ends.
In a diverse land full of different cultures, languages and beliefs, families of all backgrounds have had their lives usurped by war. What has been lost in translation, ironically, is the reason for the horror’s of human struggle. Swept up in the spirit of the Arab Spring, a large gathering of Syrian’s joined together in a peaceful march in Homs, a city that has now finally submitted rebels to Assad and his new friends, the Russian Armed Forces. It seems almost like a woeful dream from when the revolution started all those years ago. This timeline (LINK http://www.vox.com/2015/9/5/9265437/syria-war-timeline ) provides a succinct summary of how a once peaceful protest, united around the values of liberty, freedoms, and a different form of governance was twisted into a dark cloud of religious extremism and foreigners by both Assad, a brutal dictator by almost any standard, and international agendas spanning both the region and the globe.
No matter how this strife ends, little will remain of the old Syria.
The conflict grew increasingly sectarian, with a free-for-all fight between multiple forces. The Alawite’s, a Shia sect who bore out the Assad family, have remained loyal to the ruling family, along various other ethnic and religious minorities that have been forced to fight for the regime out of survival against both said regime and genocidal extremists who wish to exterminate them. Said extremists are part of a diverse collection of evil values, with Daesh and Al Nursa Front (AQ’s satellite in Syria) the largest and most successful Sunni extremists in Syria. As those who desecrate both their own religion and humanity as a whole with their brand of evil. While all sides have practiced barbarity in different forms, both Assad and the devils he has helped unleash have set the goalposts of the slaughter.
Among the smaller factions now, of the secular Syrian rebels who first marched in the streets in 2011 have been pushed out, killed, radicalized, or have fled the fighting that stole their country from them. While many in the various capitals of the world debate whether to let in Syrian refugees who are often portrayed as terrorists in countries like America, their plight is one that is rarely discussed. With the Obama-led $500 million plan to train and arm “moderate” rebels in tatters, the last true “Syrian” opposition has been pushed aside by better armed, trained and funded groups, be they Daesh/Al Nursa, Assad/Iran/Russia/Hezbollah, or in some rare cases, the Kurds. Mostly due to the lack of forceful response when the crisis first erupted from the West and Gulf nations, what was once a truly moderate, secular rebellion based on ideas of tolerance, respect, and liberty that would be serving all walks of life has turned into the extremist uprising. Having lost friends, family, and an entire generation of young men, the people of Syria who oppose Assad are caught between the rock and a hard place.Meanwhile, our other ally, the Kurds have etched out their own territory much like they have done in Iraq. They are lionized (rightfully) in both the West and the East for being the steadfast rock upon which Daesh has repeatedly crashed, breaking their waves and slowly taking territory lost to the fanatical caliphate with the support of both American and coalition air power and weaponry. This support comes in spite of the fact that NATO “ally” Turkey, which is lead by its own punitive dictator in Recep Erdogan, has bombed Kurdish positions repeatedly. This while allowing guns and volunteers to flow through its borders to fight for the various terrorists groups while buying oil from Daesh and selling it on the black market. As insane as that all sounds (and is), the fact that the relationship exists shows the extent of both complexities and utter insanity that rules the region.
With all of these varying agenda’s, the plight of the Syrians on all sides of this conflict that have bore the brunt of the death and destruction have been all but forgotten. These people, the teachers, doctors, students, the young and old who made up this diverse land have lost everything: Their country, their families, their friends, their livelihoods, their sense of security. And for this, we should all be ashamed. No matter who you support, the suffering of millions is never a desired outcome. When the dust finally settles on this titanic clash of ideology, religion and power, it will be the Syrian people who have to rebuild their families, their homes, and their society. When this time comes, we must support them however we can, not only because it would help to head off any other extremism from flowing out of the country, but because, simply put, it is the right thing to do.