> New York Times: Experts Fear Strikes Overlook Risks
> Huffington Post Syrian News Feed
In 2011, locals took to the streets of the city of Deraa after 15 school-aged children were arrested and tortured for spray painting anti-government graffiti on a public wall. Non-violent protests in the beginning turned violent after the Syrian army opened fire on the protesters, killing four innocent people. The next day, the army opened fire again on the mourners at the four victim's funerals, killing another innocent citizen. As news of this spread throughout the country, unrest followed as people became outraged at their government's capacity for senseless violence.
The protesters who took to the streets in increasing numbers all throughout Syria simply wanted democracy and freedom of speech. They had had enough of the government's practice of ruling with an iron fist. Several reports of suspected intentional internet outages popped up all over the country after protests and during President Assad's public address. Control of this sort was made possible by the many people who still supported Assad and his party.
As the protesting grew to huge numbers, it is suspected that Assad and his cronies took 3 days or so to put together nerve agents for a chemical attack on the protesters in the city of Damascus. When they (supposedly) launched the attack on August 21, 2013, 1,429 men, women, and children were killed. Syrian citizens began fleeing the country to neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. The United Nations reported that upwards of two million citizens had become refugees, and nearly one million of them were children. Millions more have been displaced by the fighting within Syria, and have no means of securing help.
Regular citizens have formed a rogue army, and are too busy fighting to help their fellow citizens who are without food, water, and shelter. The United Nations can not come to an agreement on how to help the citizen army fight the government army. If they send weapons, the weapons shipment may be intercepted by the government. If they launch an air attack, they risk killing more innocent people. Another issue here is that Putin, the Russian president, has close ties to President Assad's government having supplied them with artillery, so Russia does not support the UN going through with air strikes.
Initially, France and the UK were in support of the US air strikes, but the UK has since pulled out of that agreement. It is feared that the disagreement between countries will precipitate a third world war. It is also feared that if the US launches said air strikes, that they will bring us one step closer to sending troops on foot into the Syrian civil war. Neither the Syrian government nor the Syrian citizens have been able to overtake the other, so there seems to be no end in sight, but it's very unlikely that the Syrian government will ever have full control again.
As of this afternoon, August 31, 2013, President Obama is letting Congress vote on whether or not we should launch air strikes against Syria. He said, "a lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it." He has the ability to make the final decision, but said it was important for the people to decide. I was of the belief that we should mind our own business, but as a member of the UN, the United States does have the responsibility to help the Syrian people in their fight for a democracy. It doesn't appear they can do it on their own. While I do think we should help, I don't think our help needs to involve air strikes. I'm in the camp with other people who believe this can ultimately be solved non-violently. At least I hope it can. I do not, I repeat DO NOT want to see world war three in my lifetime. Isaiah 17:1, a bible verse, has been trending because people believe that the fighting in Damascus brings the second coming of Christ and the end of days. A grim outlook if you ask me.
I didn't want to blog about Syria, but I wanted people to know what's going on. A lot of my peers had no idea why the fighting began in the first place, so I felt the responsibility to outline it for you simply. I hope this helps in some way, and I'd like to hear everyone's opinion on whether we should help or not, and whether we should launch an attack or do this without weapons. Let me hear your opinion one way or another.