Syrian Revolution hits road block
By Ryan Moonka Ravaged buildings line the debris-cluttered streets of Aleppo, Syria as fighter jets streak across the skies. Gunshots echo across the war torn city. Once a symbol of Syrian culture and unity, Aleppo is now nothing more than a war zone. The Arab Spring- the driving effort to topple despotic leaders, the engine of reform throughout much of the Arabic world, the movement that has shocked the world- has hit a roadblock. Syria, a nation divisively split between those that support the government and the ways of the old regime, and those that support the rebel cause and political reforms, has been involved in a civil war that has claimed 60,000 lives, according to the United Nations. With no signs of peace returning to Syria anytime soon, many influential world leaders have agreed that Bashar al-Assad, the autocratic President, must go.
“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way,” President Obama remarked in 2011. The heads of state from Germany, the United Kingdom and France released similar statements. Despite the opposition of world leaders to Assad, the war drags on. In the past month alone, at least 80 people were killed in strikes on the University of Aleppo, and at least 180 people were killed “in an alleged mass killing carried out by government troops at a petrochemical university in central Syria,” according to the Washington Post. With an estimated 60,000 deaths so far and no end to the civil war in sight, many question the US’s refusal to intervene. President Obama remarked, “… we also have to recognize that… for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step,” a step that would provoke intense political and international scrutiny.
Obama continued, “…we have to do so making absolutely certain that we know who we are helping, that we’re not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us or our allies in the region.” Jr. Abdul Harris, whose parents grew up in the city of Hama, Syria, remarked, “The western nations had a chance to step in, but it’s too late for them. It’s the Syrian people’s fight now.” Harris, who still has close ties with the country, continued, “I felt as though this war was coming a long time ago.” He asserted, “From here on out, what happens is up to the Syrian people. But al-Assad must be forced out.” Yet the war drags on, with rebel victories one day and government victories the next. The smoke that rises over crumbling cities such as Aleppo serves as a reminder that the war is far from over.