Syrian Civil War’s Refugee Under Major Crisis
Md Taqi Yasir
In the war in Syria and Iraq, but the political and military stalemate at the beginning of 2015 was still there at the end of it. The most important change on the ground was the start of the Russian air campaign on 30 September which ended a series of significant defeats for the Syrian army. So far the Russians have helped to destabilize the military situation, but they have not transformed it by capturing the rebel-held half of Aleppo or sealing the Syrian-Turkish border.
The outside world’s perception of the war and its consequences has gone through strange gyrations. After the massacre of 130 people in Paris by an Isis suicide squad on 13 November, there was wall-to-wall coverage of the killings by the media. Television bulletins and newspapers issued apocalyptic warnings about how the slaughter had changed the world, but in the event there was not much new in the policies of the United States and its allies towards Isis and the war.
It may be that the way in which the media provides relentless round-the-clock coverage of a single outrage ends up by becoming a substitute for an effective government response. Over-reaction is followed by under-reaction. Politicians are under intense pressure to do something for a week or more and then under almost no pressure at all. The Isis was reportedly pleased that by deploying a single suicide squad of less than a dozen people in France, it was able to dominate the international news agenda for so long.
There will be more atrocities as Isis employs a distinctive blend of tactics which varies between conventional warfare, guerrilla operations and urban terrorism. Its atrocities are geared to attract maximum publicity and thereby amplify their effectiveness in spreading fear and demonstrating Isis’s ability to strike at its enemies. No real defense is possible against these attacks, since those carrying them out are bent on suicide as a public proof of Islamic faith, and their targets are defenseless civilians.
A depressing feature of the terror attacks and the exodus of Syrian refugees over the past year is that they have not led to an effective policy for ending the Syrian-Iraq war or eliminating Isis. It is difficult to see the peace talks in Vienna scheduled for January getting anywhere because those with real military strength in Syria do not want them to succeed. President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian army may not be able to win the war with increased Russian and Iranian support but they are unlikely to lose it. The armed opposition, dominated by Isis, the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra Front and the ideologically similar Ahrar al-Sham, has likewise every reason to go on fighting.