From the beginning of the escalating conflict, the UN had been on the side of the people of Syria as we watched on TV the casualties rise day by day. When it seemed like nobody was going to take an action to stop Syria, the US stepped in and moved 5 destroyers off the coast of Syria while bringing in two aircraft carriers and 3 more destroyers into the red sea. This in turn sparked outrage over the US being involved in yet another conflict, but had its desired affect when Russia stepped in and a last minute deal was made.
Syria agreed to let OPCW and UN inspectors inspect and destroy their chemical weapons stockpiles and equipment, and it was agreed that chemical weapon stockpiles would be destroyed outside the country. Since then all chemical sites have been destroyed, and the only thing left to do is move the chemical weapons out of Syria. While it seems simple in concept, the chemical weapons have to be transported to the port city of Latakia so they can be transported overseas. With the current condition Syria is in, and with the uncertainty of what will happen; the chemical weapons are being stored in a safe location. This may seem like a good idea but with Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda still present in the country, even having the stockpile still in the country becomes an unnecessary risk.
The high commissioner for human rights for the UN herself said the scale of abuse in Syria “almost defies disbelief”. With the casualty costing the lives of more than 120,000, and displacing millions of Syrians, its not hard to see where human rights violations are taking place. Since Assad took office, he has failed to substantially improve the state of human rights but instead has become an authoritarian dictator who has little to no concern on the lives of his citizens. Free speech, association, and assembly was strictly controlled in Syria before the conflict, and human rights activists were tossed in jails or tortured.
While Bashar Assad is still in power, Islamist rebel groups including Tawhid Brigade, Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic Army have joined together together with the rebels to oppose Assad’s regime. The new groups have more support than the western backed Syria Coalition and FSA, it ultimately might not lead to an outcome we want. Steven Hadley illustrates this clearly when he says, “If Assad is allowed to win it sends a message to the world that if you’re willing to kill hundreds of thousands of your people, the international community will let you stay to power. And the opposition winning … increasingly that means Islamists and al-Qaeda.”
By: Rohan Kohli