Protests against the regime began in March 2011 drawing inspiration from other countries in Arab world where two regimes were overthrown following popular protests. These protests in Syria soon turned into armed insurgency with hundreds of soldiers defecting in support of the opposition forces. The government decided to take an even tougher stand. It started pursuing deserters. Some were killed in the process.
While the loss of human life is regrettable, it is to be noted that most of the countries have laws that state that a deserter can be executed. Many of these nations that implement this law are not third world countries but developed nations including the US. Just to point it out, the UK executed 306 soldiers for desertion during World War I.
Humanity has been shouting for a cessation of hostilities but to no avail. Syria has now become a battleground for the former cold war foes - US and Russia. The US along with the UK and France have time and again tried to get the UNSC involved but all the efforts have turned out to be fruitless because of Russian and Chinese opposition and there is nothing wrong with that. Both these nations are veto wielding nations and they are simply exercising their right to say ‘No’ to any resolution that they do not agree with.
But people are losing their lives; college students like me are now armed with guns instead of pens. So, why is the UNSC not united in stopping this bloodshed? To answer this, let me ask you one very simple question. Remember Libya? UNSC passed a resolution that allowed NATO intervention to protect civilians. During the proceedings at UNSC, Russia and China abstained from voting and by September almost everybody in the general public who wished to hold a gun, had a gun in their hands. There was nothing wrong in it. Libya was a civil war scenario and well, if it’s a civil war, people are supposed to be armed. The only difference was there were NATO planes in the sky, protecting the so called civilians who were up in arms.
Russia and China do not want a recurrence of the same scenario. The west wants a regime change in Syria and if any resolution that is even remotely similar to the one implemented for Libya is passed, it would provide the freedom that the countries have been looking for; to implement a regime change in Syria.
Diplomatic talks have been ongoing but so far have failed to bear fruit. Before I get to the reason for the failure, I would like to point out that it needs two hands to clap. Most of the western governments have demanded that the government reigns in its forces and stop fighting but the question is who is going to control the opposition after the government agrees? The opposition is being provided arms by many nations whom I would not name.
So, on one hand they want a cessation of hostilities and on the other, the opposition is being provided with weapons to fight the war. Some opposition fighters are even being trained in other countries to fight in Syria. While Russia has been criticized for supplying the government with arms and ammunition which it is required to deliver under previous deals signed between the two legitimate governments, there is no one to control the arms flow in the hands of opposition Syrians or rebels, which they are popularly called. Now, do you see the irony?
The only way to end the current stalemate is by enforcing a cease-fire and getting the two sides together on a negotiating table and not the countryside battlefield. This is not a board game where one side wins. Until the time comes when children are able to walk from home to school while stopping and playing on the road, both sides are the losers. The world has not just lost 30,000 people but it has lost 30,000 souls including women and children. The dead cannot return but one thing that can return for sure is peace and both sides need to work for it.
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