The Syrian Civil War

The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing conflict between the current Ba’ath Party government and opposition forces which seek to oust the current government. The conflict originated in 2011 when nationwide demonstrations began. As the Syrian Army began to crack down on demonstrations, the protests eventually evolved into an armed rebellion.

The main armed Opposition is known as the Free Syrian Army, which originally was a loosely united force composed of mostly defected soldiers and local civilians. However, this has changed with an influx of foreign Mujahedeen, funded by the Saudis and Qataris [1]. As a result, groups like Jabhat al-Nursa have gained influence, which has caused a split between rebel forces even before Assad’s defeat. The Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra, is an al-Qaeda affiliated group that has committed vicious war crimes throughout the war, and are expected to carry out ethnic cleansing of pro-Assad Shiites and other religious minorities if they gain power [5]. This has raised fears amongst minorities and resentment in the local Muslim population forced to live under a harsh brand of Islamist rule imposed by foreign fighters, which has led to protests in Rebel occupied areas of the country [4].

As of June 2013, the death toll is believed to be 100,000 by the United Nations [7] [8]. According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country, and 1.5 million have fled to other countries [9]. International organizations have accused both government and opposition forces of severe human rights violations [10].

Syria: the real situation

Syria is an ethno-religious patchwork of identities, which have been held together by the Ba’ath regime and its Arab Nationalist Ideology. The fundamental role, in which Sectarianism plays in the ongoing conflict, seems to be conveniently dismissed by some mainstream analysts. Just under the surface of the “Democratic Uprising” is a major fault-line, between the ruling Alawite minority and the country’s Sunni majority. It is this Alawite/Sunni struggle for social and cultural dominance that is at the very heart of the current Syrian Civil War.

In the back drop of this all is the story of Syria’s Christian and Druze minorities. Helpless witnesses to a growing humanitarian crisis, the country’s Christians appear poised to lose the most, no matter who wins the civil war [2]. Yonadam Kanna, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly, claims “the collapse of the Syrian state would be a jihadist triumph and a threat to Christians throughout the Middle East” [3]. No one can say for certain what awaits Syria if and when Assad is ousted; however, any future regime in Syria will most likely include a large Islamist party, which may fuel continued violence across the country [1].

American Interest in the Syria Civil War 

Since 2012, the Central Intelligence Agency has been involved in covert operations inside Syria, investigating rebel groups, recommending arms, and providing aid. Agents have also been involved in developing supply routes and training rebels [11]. The U.S. State Department has reportedly allocated $15 million to opposition groups in Syria [12]. Although U.S. Officials claim that aid is only being given to Secularist fighters, reports show that U.S. weapons have been finding their way to both pro-Assad militias and Foreign Jihadist [5] [13].

What is obvious is that, Washington’s not so expert analysts are again putting forward a doomed strategy. It seems that the Obama administration is not interested in a quick end to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, but rather wants a protracted conflict in hopes of draining Iranian and Hezbollah resources [14][15][16]. Therefore, any talk by the administration about “human rights” is a smokescreen for their ill-advised strategy to sacrifice the lives of innocent women and children in order to play out a proxy war in the Middle East.

Turkish Involvement in the ongoing Syrian Civil War 

Since the conflict began, Turkey has seen it has an opportunity to strengthen its influence throughout the Islamic World. It has openly been training and sheltering the Free Syrian Army on Turkish soil [17]. All of this fairly common known, however, what most people are unaware of is the fact the Republic of Turkey sees this as an opportunity to  perpetuate a second Genocide in Syria, offering Jihadist rebels $1,000 dollars for each dead Syrian Soldier and $5,000 dollars for each dead Armenian [6].

Who is the Syrian Opposition?

The Syrian Opposition is an umbrella term for several groups fighting against the Ba’athist government. In 2011, several groups united to form the Syrian National Council. Since then a new opposition group has formed called, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which has replaced the SNC as the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people”.

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces: is a coalition of opposition groups in the Syrian Civil War. It was founded in 2012 at a conference of opposition forces held in Doha, Qatar. It contains organizations such as;

The Syrian National Council based in Istanbul, Turkey [18].

The Muslim Brotherhood, originally banned in Syria by the Ba’athist government. The regime of Bashar al Assad accuses the brotherhood of being the main instigators of the uprising that has escalated into a civil war [19].

The Coalition of Secular and Democratic Syrians is a secular and democratic opposition, which was created by the union of numerous Muslim, Christian, and Kurdish parties. The coalition has called for minorities of Syria to support the fight against Ba’ath regime [20]. It has also called for military intervention and the formation of a no-fly zone [21].

The Syrian Democratic People’s Party is a socialist party which played a major role in creation of the SNC [22].

The Free Syrian Army is an armed opposition force active in the Syrian Civil War [23]. Composed mostly from defected Syrian Armed Forces [24], its formation was announced in 2011. The FSA originally coordinated with the Syrian National Council [25], but has now supported the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces since its creation. The FSA has no political goals except the removal of Bashar Assad as president of Syria [26] [27]. It is the main opposition army in the ongoing conflict [28].

Other opposition groups

The National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change is a Syrian opposition block consisting of mostly leftist political parties and independent activists, including three Kurdish parties. It was the first major coalition created during the protests back in 2011 and was originally considered the chief rival to the SNC. It has since lost influence as the conflict has become more militarized.

The Syrian National Democratic Council is an opposition party created by Bashar al-Assad’s uncle Rifaat. The organization wishes to replace Bashar al-Assad, but keep the authoritarian state apparatus intact, guaranteeing the safety of regime members.

Jabhat al-Nusra is an Al Qaeda associate operating inside Syria [29]. It is described as “the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force” [30]. The organization is designated by the United Nations [31], the United States [32], and Australia [33], as a terrorist organization. Its goal is to overthrow the Ba’athist government and create a Pan-Islamic state under Sharia law, and reinstate the Islamic Caliphate [34]. Members are accused of attacking non-Sunnis in Syria [35].

The leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces has called on the U.S. to reconsider its decision to list the group as a foreign terrorist organization; however, some rebels are worried by the group’s extremist beliefs and tactics [34]. The FSA has consistently condemned al-Nursa’s use of suicide bombs and accuses them and others of “hijacking a revolution that began as an uprising to demand a democratic system” [34]. Many believe that once Assad has been overthrown, the next war will be between the FSA and the Islamists [34].  

[1] Georgi Ivanov. Syria Civil War: Why the Fall of Assad Could be the WorstPossible Outcome

[2] Christians have ‘most to lose’ in Syrian strife

[3] Nuri Kino. Iraqi MP: Syria Collapse wouldendanger al Mideast Christians

[4] Jason Ditz. In Rebel-HeldTowns, Syrians Protest Against Islamist Rule

[5] In Syria, U.S. Arms go to Pro-Assad Militias and Jihadists 

[9] Over 40,000 killed since start of Syria conflict". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. 23 November 2012. 

[15] Fareed Zakaria. Contradictions abound

[18] Yezdani, Ipek (23 August 2011). "Syriandissidents form national council".

[22] Carnegie Middle East Center: The Syrian Democratic People’s Party

[23] Albayrak, Ayla (4 October 2011). "Turkey Plans Military Exercise on SyrianBorder".

[25] Zavis, Alexandra; Marrouch, Rima (2011-12-01)."Syria opposition groups agree to coordinate efforts".

[27] Abbas, Thair (10 September 2011). "Asharq Al-Awsat visits the Free SyrianArmy".

[28] Burch, Johnathon (7 October 2011). "War is only option to topple Syrian leader".

[29] Iraqi al-Qaeda and Syrian group 'merge'". Al Jazeera English. 9 April 2013.

[30] Ignatius, David (30 November 2012). "Al-Qaeda affiliate playing largerrole in Syria rebellion".