The Syrian civil war as we know is not an internal conflict anymore, rather it’s more of a battlefield right now for global giants to settle down their grudges by supporting their favourite party. These international players are not only providing financial support but also to some extent military support as well to their side and the end result of all this is mere destruction of Syria as millions have died, another million displaced and those living in the country suffer the most as their minimal problems start from finding the next meal.
This situation was not the same at the start when two sides were distinct from each other on the basis of a vision. One was Bashar Al Assad’s side saving his dictatorship and the second was the rebels fighting for their freedom from Assad’s rule. Now there are multiple sides and all of them want to win and none is interested in negotiations.
Every side simply wants to win irrespective of how they do it. The famous saying, “Everything is fair is love and war” perfectly depicts the situation as if missiles are used on one side, the other side uses chemical weapons and the ones who use the weapons and those who are killed are the same Syrian people.
Let’s have a look at the situation more clearly from a global aspect.
The Foreign involvement has reached its apex in Syria. The major sides being the government, the rebels and the sides supporting none of the two or the other disputed groups. First of all, let’s understand what foreign involvement means. Any country directly involved in the war through military and operational support or indirectly involved in politics is currently considered to be a part of the Syrian war.
Now Russia and Iran are somewhat on the same page. They both support Assad’s Government. Open supporters of Assad’s side include Hezbollah party and Syrian based Palestinian group PFLP-GC with some other small parties. Since the end of 2015, Russia has its military bases openly established in Syria and is waging an intense air strike against Islamic State group and other small rebel groups against Assad. They are supported by the government and are considered legal to operate and participate in the war. However, criticism of this involvement is openly done by the USA many times globally and on regional level Turkey has multiple times clashed with Russian military involvement to stop their invasion in Syria. When Russia violated Turkey’s airspace back in November 2015 there was a direct clash between the two sides. Turkey also openly criticised Russian bombardment over Bayırbucak region held by anti-government groups. Iran is more involved in a proxy war and has a special interest in the Syrian war because of its rivalry with its local adversary Saudi Arabia. Turkey now openly counters by military means with its opponents expanding the area under control of Syrian Kurdish Forces along its border where it has also created a buffer zone within the territory of Syria.
On the other side are the USA and its Allied countries of the Middle-East region which includes Saudi Arabia the major player and other small contributors like Qatar and Turkey. The middle east countries and Turkey majorly being Sunni states conflict with Iran which is a Shia state, this being a clear depiction of proxy war over sectarianism and the playing field is unfortunately Syria. The USA is still deciding to get directly involved in the war as their major concern is the use of chemical weapons. Assad’s side has categorically assured the USA many times that it has destroyed its arsenal of chemical weapons and at no cost, such inhumane activities will be persuaded in the war by their party. The real-life situation is totally opposite to that of Assad’s claims as every day more and more news of human suffering due to chemical weapons is being televised from Syria. The catastrophe continues as the Death toll continues to rise due to the use of these deadly weapons.
European countries including U.K, France and Germany support anti-terrorist groups in Syria who claim of having no involvement in the fight except are suffering due to the civil war and need help to survive the situation. They have their own criterion for declaring whether a party is violent or not which is to some extent questionable at times because their aid reaches both government and anti-government groups. The largest group of the rebels called Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which is a military support equipped service of the Executive Council (Rojava), part of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) receives all type of military and logistical support from Iraqi Kurdistan and air support from the USA, Canada, UK and France. The Salafist groups are partially supported by Turkey and the Islamic State gets its aid from a large number of groups across the globe. Islamic State is recognized internationally as a terrorist group and operations against them in their territory occupied in Syria are being done by USA, Russia, UK and France.
The conflict that started in 2011 is now a proxy war between regional players as well as countries residing on two sides of the globe. Major involvement includes Iran and Saudi Arabia on regional level whereas USA and Russia on a global level. As these countries oppose each other the conflict instead of resolving is flaring up furthermore.