Millions of refugees from Syria are suffering and dying in the Middle East. Many have gone through the greatest dangers and even perished in trying to reach other countries in the European continent. Their plight and misery has been emphasized further by the images in FACEBOOK of a drowned Syrian toddler along the beaches of Bodrum in Turkey. The three-year old Aylan Kurdi died together with his five-year old brother and mother.
The incident infuriated Western nations and international organizations who believe the wealthy countries in the Arab world are not providing enough help to the poor and innocent Syrian people. Gulf nations have refuted this claim saying they contributed a lot to humanitarian assistance. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gave $18.4 million to the Syrian response Fund of the United Nations while Kuwait donated $304 million. The biggest benefactor was the United States with $1.1 billion aside from relocating about 1,500 Syrian nationals.
Worst Humanitarian Tragedy
Many observers have described the current civil war in Syria as the most terrible humane catastrophe of this era. Around 210, 000 Syrians have died in four years of fighting while another 11 million have been dislocated. Many refugees are currently staying in Lebanon and Jordan. Ironically, these are the two smallest and weakest nations in the Arab Region. A human rights monitoring group revealed that pro-government and militia forces have killed more civilians than the ISIS. The unrest continues to heighten and more deaths as well as destruction are expected.
All these started in March, 2011 supposedly as part of the Arab Spring. Yet, the peaceful demonstrations quickly escalated after the violent attack made by government troops and rebels fought back. Rifts between secular and Islamist combatants as well as ethnic groups further complicated politics of the struggle. Syria’s pre-war populace of 23 million needs help immediately.
Numerous refugees also fled to Northern Iraq through a newly-opened border junction. Iraq is hard-pressed to cope with these Syrians and nearly a million homeless Iraqi citizens. Another four million Syrians are waiting to be registered with the United Nations High Commission of Refugees or UNHCR. The UN estimates there can be 4.2 million refugees by the end of this year.
It is important for international leaders specifically the United States, Germany, China, and Russia as well as the rest of Europe to organize a high-level emergency conference in tackling major issues of the crisis. The objectives are quite basic. These include putting a stop to all the fighting and help displaced Syrian civilians.
Arab countries also have to play a principal role since the conflict is happening right in their region. The monetary aid given by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as the USA is not sufficient. More help is required. The global conference must develop a more comprehensive plan worldwide that gives significant responsibilities to Arab governments. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, and Iran should be compelled to welcome Syrians. This should also apply to Western powers like the US and Euro Zone along with Indonesia and Malaysia which are both Muslim states. Incidentally, Iran is a supporter of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
Establishment of safe zones within Syria can be an option although a military commitment is needed from the US, North Atlantic and Treaty Organization (NATO) and other coalition groups. There should be no-fly areas, anti-aircraft armaments and regular air patrols. Some people believe that it is not only the ISIS that should be defeated and dismantled but the present Syrian regime as well.
As the conflict rages and the problem seems to aggravate, the possible outcomes include the emergence of several smaller Islamic states supported by Russia, Iran, the Kurds, and Sunni rebels considered as non-jihadist fighters. If this happens, the probable winners will be the ISIS and Al-Qaeda since they will maintain control over most parts and continue their acts of terrorism.
Assad’s government can also collapse because of the prolonged armed conflict. His fall can bring about the emergence of competing warlords and groups which can mean more violence and bloodshed in Syria. There can also be a negotiated resolution between the warring factions. However, this outcome will depend on the recommencement of peace talks and formation of a government that includes Assad and rebel group representatives. However, this is very far-fetched considering that all the groups involved are all hardliners.
In any case, Assad and his next of kin can be given asylum to a host nation with an entirely new government taking over. This calls for the US, Iran and other countries to deploy military advisers to secure the entire country. This is a very difficult goal but given the collaboration between these governments, the United Nations and Arab countries, peace can finally reign in Syria.