Syria is a west Asian Country with the population of almost 18 million and area almost 185,180 Km sq. It is bordering with Lebanon in South west, Mediterranean Sea on the west Iraq in east, turkey at north, Jordan in south and Israel at south west. Syria is home to many complicated ethnic and religious groups including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, circassians, mandeans, Turkmens and in religion it includes Sunnis, Alawaties Shiite, Druze, and Ismailies, mandeans, Salafis, yazidis and Jews. Sunnis are the largest religious group in Syria.
Syria has Semi presidential Republic System in politics, with multiparty representation. President Bashar al Assad, his family and Arab Socialist Baath Party have remained a strong force in the country since a bloodless coup 1970. Father of present President of Syria Hafiz Al Assad who was also Alwatie took power in 1970 after his death in 2000 Bashar al Assad succeeded him as President. Presently the Prime minister of Syria is Mr. Imad Khamis who is also the representative of Baath Party.
Background of Alawities:
Alawis or Alawites are a sect of Shia Islam which is primarily centered in Syria. The name Alawities comes with Ali (ibn abi talib) the fourth righteous Caliph, First Imam of Shia Islam and First Cousin of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) Alawities considered Ali Ibn Abi Talib A.S a divine soul. The origin of alawities are disputed according to some historians they are the followers of eleventh Imam Hasan Al Askari (d.868) while the other historians thinks that Alawities were descended from ancient Middle eastern people such as Armenians, Canaanites and Hittites. . Many prominent Alwatie Tribes are also descended from thirteen century.
Syria Current Political System:
Syria has Semi presidential Republic System in politics, with multiparty representation. Syria announced their Syrian Constitution in 1973 which provides dominant power to the President of the country. The term of President is 7 years who is elected by the referendum. During the Syrian Uprising a new Constitution was introduced which abolished the old article 8 related to the power of baath Party. The new article 8 says.
“The political system of the state shall be based on the principle of political pluralism, and exercising power democratically through the ballot box”.
Present Civil War:
Presently Syria is under a civil war and conflict which is now center of many foreign powers and their agendas. The unrest in Syria is a part of the wider Arab Spring in 2011 when a protest of thousands call for the removal of the Bashar ul Assad regime which resulted to an armed conflict. The war which began on 15 march with major unrest in the city of Damascus and t by many Aleppo is being fought by many groups. The Syrian government and forces along with their international allies are fighting with a loose alliance of Sunni opposition , Free Syria, army Salafi Jihadist , al nusra front, Syrian Democratic forces ISIL (Islamic state of Iran and the Levant) This war has some international involvement too including Iran, Saudi Arab, Turkey, United Stated of America, Russia and Hezbollah.
Oman and Syria both are the part of Arab League. Both the countries has very strong diplomatic relations especially after the civil war when all the Gulf countries had cut off the diplomatic relations with Syria except Oman which is still in diplomatic relations with Syrian Government.
Syrian Civil war Background.
The Syrian war has been slowly unfolding a dangerous and catastrophe which has gathered several world major powers and armed groups in one location. This all started in March 2011 when Arab Spring was in full swing. Organizers of protestors called on Assad to undertake the democratic reforms which has been promised and never implemented according to them but the answer of the government was storing and they used forces which resulted an ally between some of the protestors and Free Syrian Army which sought to overthrow the Assad Regime. By 2012 this conflict was converted into full fledge civil war started from Damascus and Aleppo the main cities of Syria. In 2013 United Nation reported that almost 90 thousand people has been killed during this conflict and by August 2015 this figure climbed to 250,000 these numbers were staggering for international community. This conflict in not limited to Assad Government vs Opposition only now it is more than just a battle. It has acquired sectorial overtones, and it is becoming dangerous pitching the Sunni majority country against the Alawitie Shia Sect president it also drawn the regional and world power attention and involvement. The Rise of the Jihadist Group ISIL has added a further dimension. This war has given different groups power in different location in Syria and many groups has occupied different areas. Most of the Syria is still in the control of Bashar Ul Assad Government while some area is in the control of Hezbollah, Kurds, Russian, Rebels, and Islamic State etc.
According to UN all parties who are involved in the war has committed war crimes. Including the murder, torture and rape of innocent people. They have been accused also for civilian suffering such as blocking the access to food, water and other health services through siege.
In 2013 hundred of people were killed by the chemical weapons fired from rockets in Damascus. Western Powers blamed Syrian Government while the Syrian Government blamed Opposition. After the United States Military Invention Syrian Government agreed to complete removal and destruction of Syria chemical Weapons Arsenal. International Organization of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigated and found later in 2014 that chlorine was used systematically on the protestors and rebels .IS also used chemical weapons in August 2015 IS fired rocket in the city of Marea which killed a baby.
So Called Islamic State has also capitalized on the chaos and taken control of some of the area in Syria and Iraq where it declared Caliphate in 2014. They gathered many foreign fighters from all over the world and they did inhuman activities which took attention of whole world. In 2014 United stated entered into the conflict by launching air strikes against the IS but US ally collation has avoided attacks that might benefit Syrians Government. Russian also came into the ground in the favor of Bashar ul Assad government and did air strikes against terrorists in Syria the following year of US attacks. But the opposition says that Russian air strikes has killed mostly Western backed Rebels and Civilians. In the political platform there was also huge division among the opposition with rival alliances was fighting for the supremacy. The most of the Opposition was backed by some western powers and Gulf States
When neither side able to inflict a clear defeat on the other the international community start to interfere for peace talk and ceasefire to end this never ending conflict which resulted into loss of many innocent people and civlians.United Nation security council called Geneva Communique in 2012 which given transitional governing body the full power formed on the basis of mutual consent of all the players. Next session of talks was held in 2014 known as Geneva 2 failed after only two sessions. Special envoy of United Nation Lakhdar Brahimi Blaming Syria Government to refusal of opposition demands. In 2016 US and Russia led efforts to get representative of Syrian government and opposition to attend Proximity Talks in Geneva. The purpose was to convince both the parties to choose a road map given by Security Council for peace including ceasefire and transitional period ending with elections.
Regional players in Syria:
Involvement of Russia:
The involvement of International players have their own interests. Russian came into this conflict to support the Assad regime. Because Assad is one of the strongest ally of Russia in Middle East. Russia has also shown its support in UN by blocking meaningful international actions on Syria by vetoing proposals in United Nation Security Council. Russian has also changed the course of the war in the favor of Assad after their involvement in 2015. Russian government has also backed up Syrian Government claims that they didn’t use Chemical weapons. According to Russian that event was staged by the Western power in response US accused the Russians of enabling Asad and promised further sanction on Russia.
Involvement of United States of America:
United States of America before was showing reluctant to become too entangled in Syria but they found two strong reasons to come into play.
First the Islamic State militant group was gaining foot in Syria and Iraq rapidly. In 2013 US launched air strikes against the group. And sent 2000 US Forces Troops to deploy there. Second reason was to punish Assad Government on using Chemical Weapons on civilians. US President called it a red line to use chemical weapons and jumped into the war. Even after the United National asked Syrian Government to destroy Chemical Weapons and their agreement to do so in 2017 nearly 100 people were killed in north town of Khan sheikhoun in a strike where Sarin was used in the weapons which got the attention of Donald Trump and US fired a cruise missile on Syrian air base. However in 2018 December Trump ordered all its troops to withdraw from Syia immediately. According to President Trump they have achieved their goal by defeating IS in Syria.
Other Regional Players:
Apart from United Stated and Russia there are other Regional Players also including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Iran is the key ally of Assad Government. Iran need Syria to move its weapns and militias across the Middle East. iran always stepped in whenever Assad seemed threatened. Another Armed group of Lebanon Hezbollah who is also a key ally to Iran is supporting Assad government. In the region. This scenario is upsetting Iran rivals in the region including Turkey and Saudi Arabia so they are using Proxy war tactics by giving financial and armed support to the opposition groups of Assad. Meanwhile Israel is also carrying out air strikes on Syrian military bases and other facilities on its town to defend their land from any conflict.
Its mean today many wars are being fought inside Syria. As of today Syrian government is still at war with rebels. Israel is at war with Iran backed forces and United States is trying to kill IS while Russia is standing with Assad. Syria is also home to kurds who are key altly of United States. Turkey Fears that kurds are planning to establish a separate state and turkey is also doing air strikes against kurd control locations.
Chief Editor Orbtimes.com
- Encyclopedia Britania https://www.britannica.com/event/Syrian-Civil-War/Timelines-of-events
- Syria: The story of the conflict by Lucy Rodgers, David Gritten, James Offer and Patrick Asare www.bbc.com
- SBS News looks back at eight years of conflict in Syria. 13 MARCH BY BEN WINSOR, NICK BAKER
- https://www.foi.se/rest-api/report/FOI-R–4640–SE Syria’s Civil War Government Victory or Frozen Conflict? December 2018. By Aron Lund
Syria’s Civil War By Glen Carey Updated on December 20, 2018 www.bloomberg.com