Nearly 5 Lakh Syrians Killed In 10 Years, As The World Fails In Peacebuilding Once Again
Bashar Al Assad has been elected the President of Syria for seven more years after the election results were announced last week. He got more than 95 per cent votes to regain power in a country that has been devastated by a civil war, which the Syrian government claims to have won.
Although there are reported efforts being made to bring a change in the constitution of Syria, the overwhelming power that President Assad enjoys doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Nearly half of the 21-year rule by Assad has seen bloodshed in the streets from Aleppo to Idlib. The death and displacement for the Syrians in the current crisis began on March 15, 2011. Many groups beginning from Free Syrian Army, the Shia Militia, the Kurds, the government forces, Iran backed fighters, Saudi backed fighters, Americans and Russians all of them were killing each other while making life a hell for the Syrians.
According to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), nearly 500,000 people have been killed in the decade-long civil war in Syria since the Syrian revolution began.
The conflict has destroyed several cities and displaced millions of people. The SOHR, in a statement, said that since the revolution began, as many as 494,438 people have been killed as of May 30, 2021.
How And When Did It Begin?
The destruction of Syria began in 2011 amid the Arab Spring – which touched many countries in West Asia and North Africa – as people protested against the Assad regime and sought political and economic reforms. The pro-democracy demonstrations erupted in the southern city of Deraa. The protests turned violent as the government tried to suppress them using force against the protesters. This resulted in the spread of the protests nationwide.
The widespread protests and the government’s brutal response to it led to a section of protesters taking up arms against the government forces, which they believed were killing people indiscriminately. President Assad was quick to dub the protests as foreign sponsored as he vowed to crush them at any cost.
Protests Turn Into Battles
The small incidents of violence took no time in turning into full-fledged armed struggle between the protesters and the government forces. Several rebel groups came to the scene with arms and ammunition and even the small streets in many cities turned into battlegrounds. It did not take long for the conflict to become more than a battle between Syrians for or against President Assad.
There was a complete confusion as many groups claiming to be helping the local people had taken up arms. They were taking on the mighty and organized Syrian army, which resulted only in deaths of many non-combatants. The Assad regime showed no mercy to the Opposition whatsoever. Many people chose to leave Syria for neighbouring countries. Most of the Syrian refugees went to Turkey.
Enter The Foreign Powers
Seeing an opportunity to make an inroads in the larger picture of West Asia, many countries chose to take sides. They did this by sending money, weaponry and fighters. With the worsening of the situation, extremist organisations including the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda, became involved. That deepened concern among the international community, who saw them as a major threat.
As the Islamists groups took over first the protest and then the armed conflict against the Assad regime, the biggest loser turned out to be the people of Syria, most of those who would not escape to safer places. Even now, there is little hope for them. The ‘democracy’ remains as it was, Assad’s power is intact, and scope for political change has shrunk even further.
Death & Destruction On Record
According to SOHR, at least 1,59,774 Syrians, out of which 1,19,591 were men, 25,048 children and 15,135 women, were killed in the war, while the death toll of Syrian fighters of rebel and Islamic factions and other various factions was reported at 79,844.
Among government forces, 91,031 members have perished while 66,995 members of National Defence Forces (NDF) fighters and Syrian regime loyalists and 12,926 members of Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) and Kurdish units have also been killed.
The report notes that as many as 31,227 civilians, including 214 children under the age of 18, were killed under torture in regime prisons.
Over 47,000 civilians killed under torture in the detention centres and prisons of Assad's regime.
Besides all this, the ongoing military operations, shelling, bombardment and various explosions have injured more than 2.1 million Syrian civilians with varying injuries, wounds and permanent disabilities.
Around 13,000,000 other civilians, including hundreds of thousands of children and women, have been displaced.
Furthermore, infrastructure, hospitals, schools, and private and public property have been substantially damaged or destroyed, the observatory said.
The SOHR informed that 8,672 civilians, 5,252 adult and young men, 2,099 children under the age of eighteen and 1,321 women have been killed by Russian ground and aerial attacks.
More than 5 million Syrians have fled the country and 6 million are internally displaced. With more than 13 million people in need of assistance, the conflict has caused untold suffering for Syrian men, women and children.
Indiatimes has been following the conflict and the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Our correspondent Muhammd Adeeb had sent video reports from the ground, bringing to the forth the real situation for our readers. Human life loss has been the biggest aspect of the Syrian civil war, but unfortunately, every life lost has been reduced to a number.