Aleppo makes the Syrian Civil War go global
January 4, 2017
Two weeks ago, the citizens of Aleppo, Syria took social media by storm as they posted their final messages during the Assad regime’s bombing campaign on the rebel-controlled eastern half of the city. After little coverage by Western news outlets, the Syrian Civil War came to the forefront of public discussion. Now, as the conflict becomes a more global affair, what awaits in the future for Syria is still unknown.
Russia’s support of the Assad regime has been heavily criticized, especially in Turkey, where Syrian refugees have flocked to in large numbers in the hopes of reaching Europe and gaining asylum. Protests erupted in the streets of Ankara, the country’s capital, in front of the Russian Embassy and in Istanbul in front of the Russian Consulate General. The protesters condemned Russia as well as China and Iran for their support of the Assad regime. The anti-Russian sentiment in Turkey became more violent on December 19 when a Turkish gunman assassinated Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov during his speech at an art exhibit in Ankara. The video spread quickly and left many with a sense of urgency regarding Syria’s self-destruction.
The United States’ position on the conflict, however, is not quite as clear. While the Syrian rebels receive logistic, financial and military support from the U.S., training them in CIA camps in Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia since 2012, the U.S. military took little ground action in the conflict. The Obama administration pulled away from the idea of putting U.S. troops in Syria, but the position of President-Elect Donald Trump seems strikingly different than anything President Obama has proposed. The president-elect plans to support the Assad regime in their fight against ISIL. In his statements about this position he has justified it by saying the regime is the only way to defeat ISIL in the country and that fighting the regime would also lead to fighting Russia, which he is opposed to doing. His opponents have used these statements to criticize him for his friendly disposition towards Russia and Vladimir Putin.
As the politics of the conflict continue to dominate news outlets, the fighting in Syria continues. According to the United Nations, over 400,000 Syrians have died since the war began in 2011. Ceasefire attempts and evacuations in Aleppo have been delayed recently by Irani military actions as ambulances and evacuation routes came under fire. The conflict shows few signs of ending soon.