Why is Syria at war?
This image is often used to illustrate the beginning of Syria’s present crisis. It reads, “Your time has come, Doctor” in protest of Assad’s dictatorial rule.
Syrian politics is one of the most complicated in the MENA region considering its huge ethnic diversity and the persistent infiltration into the nation’s affairs by global superpowers. Whilst the initial expression of Syrian disaffection was fairly organic and the desire for a ‘revolution’ sustained itself for a short while, all original hope has descended into the pit of war. Three years ago, Wikileaks released the unsurprising news that since Bush’s presidency, the US had been funding Syrian opposition from around 2005 until at least September 2010. Assad exploited the support he had in certain sectors of Syrian society and utilised links with Russia and Iran to ensure a steady flow of cash, arms and protection. The influx of mujahedeen fighters from other parts of the world and encouraged to some extend by Morsi from Egypt, has contributed to the relentlessness of this already messy conflict. Palestinian refugees remain blockaded by the fighting and are currently starving to death amidst it all. It is impossible to provide a full explanation to the present situation without a full account of Syrian history. For this reason, I encourage you to pick up a few books on Syrian and wider Middle Eastern politics and to read everything, especially the news, with a pinch of salt.
Why is Syria important?
Geographically, Syria is at the heart of the Middle East at the border of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan. Militarily, alongside Egypt, it has the largest army in the Middle East, which is now under threat. Syria was the home of one of the world’s most developed ancient civilisations, has strong religious significance to Christians and Muslims and Assad currently has the backing of Russia’s government. To have boots in Syria is to have control over trade routes, pipelines, a military advantage and a stronger ability to safeguard Israel.
Why is Syria cold?
Syria is a vast nation with a wide variety of landscapes; snow can be found in the mountainous regions and nearer the border of Lebanon whilst other parts of the country can be desert-like or very fertile. This year, Syrian refugees experienced an unprecedented amount of snowfall which threatened the lives of all the adults and children who are still living under nothing more than tents.