The Syrian conflict also known as the Syrian Civil War or the Syrian Revolution is an armed conflict; more referred to as a War by the international community; taking place in Syria. It is also termed as the ethnic cleansing of the Syrian Sunnites (people belonging to the Sunni tribe) by the Syrian Alawite (those belonging to the Alawis religious group) government. The entire conflict initiated as demonstrations to protest against the former President, Bashar al-Assad and his oppressive regime.
Fact 1: Though the three year old conflict erupted as a part of the many protests in Northern Africa and Middle East, namely the Arab Spring in March 2011, many groups are now involved in the discord. The violent counterattacks of President Assad’s regime resulted in the conception of various groups – Free Syrian Army formed in 2011 and Islamic Front formed in 2013 to name a few. This further complicated the politics of the clash.
Fact 2: The dissension has given way to revolutionary groups like Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), who entered the disputed country, and by July 2014 conquered and controlled a third of Syria’s territory thereby gaining on its most precious asset; Oil.
Fact 3: According to the United Nations report, there are 8.3 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the world, out of which approx 7.6 million are in Syria alone. These are the very residents who fled their homes in search of safety to other areas in Syria. The IDP figures have soared high in the past single year!
Fact 4: The raging war followed by the massacre of millions over three years was triggered by the arrest and torture of some Syrian teenagers in south-western city, Daraa. The only crime of these teens, which would be the root of the ongoing Civil War, was painting of revolutionary slogans on schools walls. President Assad, who was once hailed as a potential reformer, was condemned by the domestic and international community for ordering military sieges and mass crackdowns on the Arab Spring’s protestors. The government’s suppression was met with intensive defiance by the civilians.
Fact 5: Following the conflict and the violent destruction of educational institutions, nearly 3 million students in Syria are out of schools for over two years now.
Fact 6: Syrian conflict is not confined to specific area or country but is a global disturbance. Besides the high number of refugees and internally displaced people, Syria is a host country to refugees like the Palestinians who are now fleeing yet another conflict.
Fact 7: The endless numbers of Syrian refugees have naturally evoked antagonism in neighbouring countries like Lebanon. Due to the sudden insurgence of displaced population, 170,000 Lebanese are pushed into poverty increasing the Lebanese government’s expenditures by $1.1 billion due to increase in demand for public services.
Fact 8: The death toll of the Syrian crisis has risen to approx 210,060, out of which almost half are civilians caught in crossfire while escaping or victimised by war weapons. Though this figure stemmed from general investigations by the Observatory by Human Rights of Syria, the official figure is said to be much higher.
Fact 9: Both sides to the dispute are found guilty for War crimes including sexual violence, rape, murder, forceful displacement of people and also using methods of subtle torture like blocking the access to water and so on.
Fact 10: Despite of President Assad’s consensus to total removal and destruction of Syrian chemical weapons, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) investigation found usage of chlorine “systematically and repeatedly” on three villages in Syria in early 2014. This violation makes President Assad’s regime vulnerable in front of the international community.