Tag Archives: UN

UN influence in Syria

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.

Syrian rebels march during a demonstration in Idlib

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


Disarmament of Chemical Weapons

The last-minute intervention by Russia in what seemed to be yet another conflict we found ourselves involved in, has resulted in progress being made in Syria. With the disposal of almost a thousand metric tons of chemical and nerve gas agents, UN inspectors have to be thorough when disposing of all of Syria’s chemical weapons.


Above is one of the 20+ chemical facilities in Syria, and so far UN inspectors have visited 11 and permanently disabled 6 of the sites.

The effort is a joint operation between the OPCW and UN to rid Syria of chemical and weapon stockpiles, a task which will not be easy. While the actual physical demolition of the chemicals and weapons is the responsibility of the Syrian government, OPCW inspectors monitor and verify what equipment is destroyed. OPCW hopes to have as many as 100 inspectors on the ground, a jump from the 20 inspectors that have already been surveying sites in Syria.

An image grab taken from Syrian television on October 10, 2013 shows an inspector from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at work at an undisclosed location in Syria. (AFP Photo)


While there is relief that a conflict was avoided, Syrian’s are angry that President Bashar Assad is getting away with essentially murder. With the war costing more than 100,000 Syrian lives, and the chemical attacks killing 1400 in one day; the Syrian people want a change. A video released today asserted that with a spokesperson speaking on the behalf of 65 different groups of fighters saying that, “they feel abandoned by the political leadership and “withdraw their recognition” of the Coalition. This recent news serves as a blow to the Syrian National Coalition a group that is a Western-funded opposition; a group whose goal was to overthrow Assad’s regime.

The numbers are staggering when you realize the Syrian conflict has killed more than 100,000, forced 2 million to seek shelter abroad, and has displaced 5 million in Syria. Whats left is fighting between Kurdish fighting groups and Al-Qaeda backed ones from Southern Syria; recent violence which has left as many as 41 dead.





By: Rohan Kohli