Syria – Battleground for World War III

Syria – The nation in news for the last several years due to a civil war suddenly came to front page of the news due to a ghastly incident (Chemical attack on innocent civilians) and a reaction to it (Missile attack by US on Syrian Military airbase).
The above incident are part of a series of incident in a Civil War which has now lasted 6 years claiming 500,000 lives injuring more than a Million and displacing 12 Million people.

How did it all started?

The “Arab Spring” protests of 2011 which toppled Governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya had its shadow in Syria when a school boy Mouawiya Syasneh wrote against the Syrian Government on his school wall.The Police acted swiftly detaining 15 boys and torturing them to the tilt. This led to huge protests which went out of control when one of the boy detained died succumbing to the injuries.
The Assad regime tried to ruthlessly crush the revolt by using brute force killing women, children etc
This led to the creation of the Free Syrian Army which is lodged in a Civil War with the Syrian Government.

Who are the players and their gameplan?

1. Syrian Government – Led by Bashar al-Assad whose father was in power for several decades, has dealt with protestors with a iron hand.

2. Free Syrian Army – Defectors from the Syrian army, a rebel group aiming to overthrow the Government.

3. ISIS – Terrorist organisation interested in overthrow of Assad regime.

4. United States/Western Power – Want to see the current Government changed and set up an alternative pro Western Government.

5. Russia – Supports Assad regime and blocks attempt to overthrow it.

6. Iran – Supports Assad as the current Syrian Government is led by a Non-Sunni person.

7. Sunni Middle East Countries – Oppose the Assad regime and supports the rebel.

8. Hezbollah – Terrorist organisation from Lebanon supports Assad.

9. Kurdish Troops – Have captured a large area of Syria and pose a challenge for Turkey.

10. Jabhat Fateh al Sham – Its another rebel faction with control in some pockets of Syria

Each of the group has a sizeable presence in Syria and control different areas. It would definitely be difficult to distinguish friends and enemies on the battleground in Syria. Its an absolute mess to say the least.

Fallout of the War

1. Refugee Crisis: Apart from huge loss of life and property, the war created the biggest ever refugee crisis the world has ever seen since World War II. The people normally ventured into Europe for its proximity to Syria and sought asylum in countries such as Italy, Germany and Nordic Countries.
This fuelled debate in Europe and further stoked Nationalist sentiment and has become the central issue in elections in several countries.

2. Middle East Turmoil: The Syrian war has virtually torn the Middle East apart with two groups under the leadership of Iran and Saudi Arabia supporting rival factions. The Syrian Government counts Iran as one of its main supporters and relies on  support from it. The Saudi Arabian regime on the other hand supports the rebel faction along with other Middle East states including Turkey.

3. Potential World War III: The war in Syria is not a normal Civil war in a country for example the ones which happened in African nations or in erstwhile Soviet Union. This Civil War has players on either side interested to see their hegemony in the region. Syria has become a pawn on the chess board being played by the same world powers who were opposite sides in World War I & II.

The next few weeks would be absolutely crucial for Syria. The Western powers are forcing Russia to give up on Assad and if Putin agrees then that will signal a new beginning for Syria. The only concern the World Powers have is to leave a vacuum for ISIS to take over. That would be worse.


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