Syria is still burning, despite the alleged defeat of ISIS, with the military conducting a major attack on the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta. Survivors told the BBC the shelling was ruinous to the region near Damascus.
“We don’t have anything – no food, no medicine, no shelter,” Dr Bassam told the BBC. “We don’t have bread. We don’t have anything.”
“Maybe every minute we have 10 or 20 air strikes,” Dr Bassam said.
Three days of bombing in the area has reportedly killed nearly 300 people.
The Syrian military says it is trying to liberate the area from terrorists – but it has also been accused of targeting civilians.
“They targeted everything: shops, markets, hospitals, schools, mosques, everything,” Dr Bassam said. “I will treat someone – and after a day or two they come again, injured again.”
“Where is the international community, where is (the UN) Security Council… they abandoned us. They leave us to be killed,” he said.
One thing which is interesting is news that Assad’s regime may be forming an alliance with the Kurds, to stop Turkey from pushing further and further into their land. The Guardian reports it has to do with the United States saying Kurds would be involved in patrolling the Syrian border. It gets even more complex from there.
Turkey launched a military campaign in Afrin last month, in an effort to drive out Kurdish militias. The enclave is under the control of the Democratic Union party (PYD) and the YPG, partners of the US-backed coalition against Islamic State.
But Turkey considers the YPG the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), a designated terror group that has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. A US announcement that it would build a 30,000-strong border force to patrol Syria’s frontiers that included the YPG alarmed Ankara and led to the military campaign, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” by the Turkish government.
“Now, will the regime enter there? If they do, what for? That is important,” said the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. “If [the] regime enters to clear out the PKK [and] YPG then there is no problem. If they are entering [Afrin] to provide protection to the YPG, then no one can stop Turkey or Turkish soldiers.”
It appears Turkey is trying to “keep the peace” (note sarcasm) by leveling any opposition, real or potential, and pushing all diplomatic and military buttons in hopes someone will listen to them. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Syria turn into another three or four-pronged war with government forces fighting Turkey and rebels, while the Kurds fight Turkey, and ISIS fights everyone within reach. Let’s also not forget the fact the U.S. took out Russian mercenaries earlier this month. The entire region is a mess, and it’s almost like everyone is playing three-dimensional chess blindfolded or some version of Calvinball, where the rules get made up by each side without any consensus.
Yet, there’s still a push by pundits for the West to get even more involved in the civil war. Guardian columnist Jonathan Freeland condemned the attacks in Ghouta, while also blasting people for not paying attention more to what was going on.
This silence of ours is complicity. The absence of noisy outrage has been a signal to Assad: keep on doing what you’re doing – no one’s going to stop you. If I were him, an occasional uptick in condemnation – with an enlightened Scandinavian denouncing me on the radio, or Unicef issuing a blank statement because “we no longer have the words to describe children’s suffering” – would be just fine. Because I would know that this brief flurry of concern would pass, and I would soon be allowed to return to the killing, just so long as I kept the daily numbers at a level everyone could safely ignore…
Part of it, surely, is that it has just gone on so long. For seven years we have known that a civil war is raining horror on Syria, and we’ve got used to it. The sound of Syrian children choking to death has become the background noise of this decade. And, crucially, we don’t know what to do about it.
Freeland also opines the Iraq War of 2003 is one reason why the West isn’t getting involved because it became a quagmire, and the idea of “humanitarian intervention,” is out the window. But you’d think he’d remember his history at “humanitarian intervention’s” poor record. No one won Korea, and the intervention into Vietnam led to disaster. Sure, the Gulf War ended with Saddam Hussein backing away from Kuwait, but did it really accomplish anything else, and was Hussein really a threat to the U.S.?
The biggest question interventionists still need to answer is how would more involvement in Syria actually end the conflict? If Assad gets wiped out, how would the various different tribes and factions in the area get along, or would they eventually turn on each other and start fighting? If Europe, Saudi Arabia, etc. want to start fighting in Syria, it’s their prerogative. U.S. involvement needs to become nil. There’s no doubt what’s going on in Syria is awful, and I’d be fine with the U.S. trying to get everyone to the table to discuss ways to end the civil war, but the military shouldn’t be an option.