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Explaining the Syrian War We see it on the news, on social media. Syria is everywhere but at the same time forgotten, by us, the international community. If you want to understand the Syrian conflict in a much simpler way we can start by emphasizing some relevant words and characters: Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian president, rebels or the Free Syrian Army, innocent civilians and Isis. On February 2011 7th grade student Mouawiya Syasneh and three friends sprayed antigovernment slogans Your turn next, Doctor [Assad], on their school wall in Deraa, Syria, inspired by the Arab Spring in Egypt and Tunisia. Little did they know that this action would unleash a major civil war. Mouawiya was arrested at 4 am by the police and driven away in handcuffs. He was kept arrested for 45 days, his whereabouts unknows. They were tortured. Mouawiya confessed: “The electric shock treatment was the worst, they took me to the bathroom and it was really wet and they would turn on the shower. They ran the current through the water and onto my back. I felt the shock wherever the water went”. When their parents tried to know where their children they were told “Forget those children; go home and make some more. If you can’t manage, send us your women and we’ll make more for you”. People started protesting, demanding to know where the students were, it had suddenly become an uprising. The government of Bashar Al Assad, the 19th and current President of Syria, holding the office since 17 July 2000, also commander-in-chief of the Syrian Armed Forces, Regional Secretary of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party's branch in Syria and son of Hafez al-Assad, who was President of Syria from 1971 to 2000, used repression and armed forces to stop the protests, but this only caused the situation to become more critical. The rebels, including civilians discontent with the government organized themselves properly, thing that didn´t happen in many countries during the Arab Spring. By June 2013, the United Nations said 90,000 people had been killed in the conflict. By August 2015, that figure had climbed to 250,000, according to activists and the UN. But why? Since the first protest the government of Bashar Al Assad has used an unimaginable amount of oppression against its people. The constant torture, rape, and violation of human rights against the Syrian people by the government has only made the situation more alarming causing other groups of rebels, terrorists and other to take advantage of the circumstances. On the other side of the war, as mentioned before, we have Isis. But what is exactly is Isis and the caliphate? IS grew out of what was al-Qaeda in Iraq, formed by Sunni militants after the US-led invasion in 2003. By 2011 they started to join the rebellion against Bashar al Assad, finding the perfect place to settle down due to the vulnerability and crisis the country has been going through to impose their beliefs. It later changed its name to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, what today we know as Isis. But what exactly do they want? The group has been referred to as a terrorist organization by the United Nations and will all due justification. Their goal is to spread the caliphate worldwide, spreading fundamentalism and annihilate everyone while doing it. Especially in

Syria, Isis is known for war terror, torture, rape and for using chemical weapons, as well as Assad´s government. On the positive note, their past capital in Syria, Raqqa was liberated last year, now called a ghost town. On the other side of the war we have the Syrian Free Army, founded on July 29, 2011 with the mere purpose to bring down the government of Bashar Al Assad consisting of 35,000 members and now continue fighting against IS and government forces or the Syrian Army. So, in Syria instead of having a love triangle, we have a hate triangle, a war triangle or even square of terror, attacks and deaths where innocent civilians are dying and will continue dying if the international community doesn’t do something concrete about it. Vladimir Putin is currently in alliance with Bashar al Assad consenting him all the weapons and bombs with the excuse that the objective is to end with Isis, the terrorists and all the rebel groups. But are they using Isis as an excuse to end with the lives of the common opposition? Fire is never ceased, not even when innocent civilians want to evacuate from Aleppo or other cities. The shelling is relentless and the violation of human rights is more than evident. The UN commission of inquiry has stated that all parts of the conflict have committed war crimes like murder, rape, tortures, and forced disappearances. Civilians who live in the city of Aleppo, which now endures in ruins, have seen their homes being destroyed and bombed, their loved ones being killed, and many have lost body parts. Imagine living with that tension, now add the terror Isis inflicts on the civilians, especially in Aleppo, where many have died on public executions, crucifixions and tortures. Women are being oppressed day by day, and their human rights are being violated day by day in front of our eyes. We fear a second holocaust, but Syrian people are suffering a second holocaust and the world remains quiet. No more silence. Clarissa Ward CNN's Senior International Correspondent has been one of the few journalists that have entered Aleppo under covered during the war, regardless all the dangers, from above the skies and her sides. On August 8, 2016 she spoke at a UN Security Council meeting on the situation of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Some of the words she stated are the following: I have been covering conflict for 12 years. I have never experienced anything like Syria. I was traveling with another woman [CNN producer Salma Abdelaziz], so we were as lowprofile as it is humanly possible to be. But as we soon discovered being on the ground, the biggest danger was not crossing the border, it wasn’t the threat of kidnapping, it was the fact that the aerial bombardment was relentless. Day in and day out, especially since the Russians had joined the intervention. The eastern rebel-held part of Aleppo, when I was there just a few months ago, was not yet completely cut off. There was one road going in and out and it's called the Castello Road-you heard Ambassador Power refer to it.

But it was still an incredibly difficult road to navigate and when you're driving along it, you must drive at absolute top speed because it's flanked by enemy positions on either side. I have never seen anything on the scale of Aleppo. There are no winners in Aleppo.

Here we have a picture of Clarissa Ward in her mission, where she had to take top security measures, like being obligated to speak in Arabic most of the time.

In this couple of years Russian and Syrian jets have bombed towns and villages across north-west Syria, devastating civilian areas and ISIS centers.

Syrians inspecting the damage after an air strike on the al-Qaterji neighborhood of Aleppo.

In 4 April 2017 more than 80 people were killed in a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria, hundreds suffered symptoms consistent with reaction to a nerve agent including children and babies. The government stated that they had nothing to do with the chemical attack, accusing the rebels for it. The rebels have stated they do not have access to chemical weapons.

On April 7, 2018 a second chemical attack occurred in Douma, the last rebel-held stronghold near Syria's capital and on April 12, it was revealed that victims of the attack had tested positive for chemicals including chlorine and a nerve agent substance. Government forces are being once again accused of dropping poisonous chemicals on their own people. At least 70 people were suffocated to death. The president of the United Stated, Donald Trump and his allies France and Britain responded to the chemical attack by striking several military sites around Damascus and Homs that were used to manufacture chemical weapons. No casualties were reported on Trump`s attack and many war analysts consider it was a wise decision, since that strikes were a message of warning to Assad`s government. The war continues day and night and there is a serious problem with refugees too, that being a major consequence of the civil war. The Syrian people have lost their hope in the international community, and no solution is being yet discussed. What we propose is the following: -That all parts sign a long-lasting ceasefire agreement, without any compromises. -Cut any kind of oil routes passing through Syrian territory since the major source of income of IS has been its oil. -After the Syrian crisis has been resolved, a free and fair plebiscite under the UN supervision without any external intervention should be held. -To sign a peace treaty between the rebels and Assad and work for democratic elections for the new government to have only one objective: Fight against ISIS. The war in Syria must really come to an end because in the end, no one is really winning. Many are dying, many lose their homes every day, and number of people seeking refugee goes up every day. Lets raise our voices and tell the world, starting with our families and friends on what is going on in Syria. Syrian people don`t deserve our indifference.

Pictures are owned by Took information from articles by CNN, BBC, Wikipedia.

The Syrian War  

Explaining the Syrian War. By Jessi Arita,

The Syrian War  

Explaining the Syrian War. By Jessi Arita,