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Syria Civil War: What started it, conflicts and combatants explained

Feb 27, 2018

Syria Civil War: What started it, conflicts and combatants explained
Syria Civil War: What started it, conflicts and combatants explained

Raging war, with two parties at loggerheads, just leads to the ultimate destruction of mankind. The evilness of war engulfs everything in it - nations, society, people, economy and explodes remnants of destruction, terrorism, exploitation and disease, from the realms of which a nation takes forever to overcome.

What led to outbreak of Syria's civil war?

The ugliness of war has turned Syria into a battlefield, with violence, conflicts, bloodshed and destruction all around. What started six years ago as a peaceful uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has today drowned the country in a bloodbath sparing none, leaving more than 3,00,000 people dead. Syrians protest against growing unemployment, frauds and corruption, restriction and repression under President Bashar al-Assad, the successor of his father in 2000 was what sparked the beginning of the war. The aftermath was beyond imagination! Syria plunged into the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen.

Why did Syria's war start?

Pro-democracy protests stirred in March 2011, influenced by Arab spring in Deraa, a southern province. The government retaliated strongly, the civilians demanded his resignation and the conflict flared into a protest within no time. The situation went beyond control, unrest prevailed everywhere, and opposition crackdown gained force taking to arms to defend and later to weaken the security force. The President beckoned with a stronger force, vowed to uproot foreign-backed terrorism and get back things to normalcy. Violence intensified and soon civil war broke out with hundreds of rebellions battling against the government to take charge of things. Destruction seemed inevitable and economy annihilated with the conflict escalating.

International involvement, external forces and agendas back Syria

Even after this long struggle, liberation was nowhere in sight. Ceasefire attempts had been falling apart. The tragic war undertaken for supremacy by the President and resistance by the Syrians at the time saw various other nations including Iran, Saudi Arabia, U.S and Russia joining the cause. Various military, financial, political aids obscured the agendas and the intervention fuelled both ends to intensify the fight and turned the dice against it. External powers fostered atrocities, ripping communities apart, stiffening stance, dimming hopes for any settlement. The fight is now a voluntary influence to preside over the outcomes, with entities eager to seize the initiative.

Huge network groups have speckled the territory, which appears to be a complex struggle for now. Pitching against Syria are many political layers, several divisions and numerous proxy wars of different groups and states, the prominent ones being – Middle East states, Saudi Arabia and Iran, which in particular has always eyed opportunity to manipulate and gain control of the territory. Syrian battleground provided the right prospect to Gulf states to weaken the other and influence assorted groups. Saudi Arabia backed Syrian opposition groups are to face up Assad and billions of dollars are being spent for military advisers and subsidised weapons, among lines of credit and oil transfers by Arab ally Iran in attempt to augment Alawite government. Combat troops and weapons shipment to the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah are strengthening government forces. Sunni fighting against Iran has been the harbinger of military and financial assistance to rebels propagating Islamist ideologies. The Sunni-Shia war instigated by Saudi, US and Israel to destabilize Arab support for Hizbullah and Iran has complicated things beyond control.

Underside agendas of Turkey, Russia and the US have empowered the war in many ways. Turkey has, under its wings Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG), militia fighting against IS to form its own Kurdish state that Turkey doesn't support. Kurdish backed by US Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance has swiped out IS militants out of Syrian border, capsizing 2,000 sq km under Turkish military.

Russians and Americans are in cold war over Ukraine and Syria. Russia has its interest vested in Syria and in attempts to make President Assad victorious, aired a campaign with the message to stabilise government in September 2015. What was intended to target only terrorists was an under attack towards Western-backed rebel groups. Russian air and missile strikes helped the government siege eastern Aleppo from the hands of the dissenters in December 2016. The US has been carrying out air strikes on IS since September 2014 supporting certain opposition groups. The first Syrian attack was on the air base in April 2017 and what it said was targeted towards the 'deadly chemical attack'.

The internal Wahhabi war against Wahhabi parties in the region against each other -the Saudi regime, Qatari regime, al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and ISIS, trying to rule and control north-western province of Idlib is going on too.

Syria's fight over control continues

The Syrian conflict has seen the involvement of over 60 different factions which concludes the allies and enemies who are the outsiders having access to channels to exert influence. The melee of groups is acting on their interest with the support of external sponsors. The breakdown of trust amongst the counterparts mainly, US, Russia and Syrian Government means serious diplomatic trouble, with Syrians caught in the conflict, and no help in sight. Apparently, this situation is the sole reason the ceasefire hasn't been enforced. 

The fate and future of Syria

It's estimated that above 1.5 million refugees have left Syria. Most of the country is still under armed groups, rebel fighters and jihadis. IS militants dominate central and northern Syria. Kurdish forces are in control of Syria's border with Turkey and north-east part of the country.

The search for a political solution is on. With the steadfast support of allies Moscow and Tehran, Assad the 51-year-old who gained Syria's leadership 17 years ago has proven that it's impossible for the US-backed rebels to drive him from power. In the meantime, in various pockets of the east and north-western province of Idlib the fight still continues.