Ten-year-old Sondos Mikki went out to buy candles for her family and never came back. Nine-month-old Noor Mohamed Saed Kadek took her last breath in her mother’s arms. Mutieh Arbash, 11, died alongside her 5-month-old brother. These are just a few names of kids who lost their lives in the Aleppo bombings.
Lifeless bodies of children lying on streets are unimaginably horrible for most of us. But it’s not shocking for people in Iraq and Syria – painful but not shocking, not anymore.
Who is responsible for this messy Syrian war? Is it Syrian President Bashar al-Assad? Or it’s the rebels that are fighting against his over regime extending over 16 years? Could we just blame the evil ISIS and move on?
You can choose to move on, like most of us, and turn a blind eye to the fact that this mess is a result of Russian, American, Saudi Arabian and Iranian interests in this region.
It all began on March 15, 2016 when a peaceful protest in Syria turned violent after Assad ordered troops to open fire on protesters. His actions gave birth to various Sunni Arab rebel groups that waged war against the government. But Assad is a clever dictator. He didn’t want to suppress this uprising, as it would have turned global powers against him. Instead, he freed large numbers of jihadist prisoners and allowed them to join rebels – thus giving them an extremist outlook and making it hard for foreigners to back them.
In January 2012, a new branch of al-Qaeda was formed in Syria, called Jabhat al-Nusra. Also around then, Syrian Kurdish groups, who call themselves independent, seceded from Assad’s rule and took up arms in North Syria. That’s when the current proxy war in Syria took shape.
Assad’s most important ally is Iran and the latter intervened on his behalf four years ago. Iran began sending daily cargo flights with hundreds of army officers on ground to help Assad. Saudi Arabia’s reaction to this was pretty obvious – the oil-rich kingdom began sending money and weapons to Syrian rebels via Turkey.
Remember that the ISIS had not become the center of attraction yet. Efforts to lay down bodies were largely made by Assad, Iran, rebels and Saudi Arabia. By 2013, middle-east was divided between Sunni powers and the Shias supporting Assad.
But how could America keep itself out of a war? The Obama administration decided to act against atrocities of Assad government in 2013. At first, USA ordered CIA to train and equip rebels. But that didn’t happen for certain reasons. USA later decided to launch strikes against Assad when he used chemical weapons against civilians in the town of Ghouta.
Russia didn’t want USA to launch a military campaign against Assad. So it urged Syria to surrender control over its chemical weapons. By then, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) had gained global attention due to their horrific acts of terror. Islamic State doesn’t fight Assad – it fights the rebels and Kurds instead. These psychopaths rather have a more audacious goal.
America is against Assad, Russia backs him. Persian Gulf states like Jordan and Saudi Arabia encourage the rebels, Iran fights them. Turkey says it fights ISIS, but its primary targets are Kurds.
It’s not a war solely between Sunnis and Shias anymore. It’s become a playground for global powers to show their dominance. Not all of them fight ISIS – which should be the case. Perhaps the saddest truth of all is that there’s no end to it. Many more kids will die, many more families will break apart and many more years of destruction and death awaits the people of Syria and Iraq.