Thursday, December 15, 2016
A very short summary on what is going on in Aleppo
Aleppo is all over the news today . . . and like you I feel helpless.
Instant news has blessed us with knowing things now but it is horrible to know that right now there are kids under bomb rubble that just need someone to get to them. And here I am in my warm home.
No doubt you feel the same way.
So what in the world is going on? And why can't it stop?
It all started about five years ago. There was a lot of excitement and optimism for change in the Middle East as both Tunisia and Egypt toppled decades-long dictators through public opposition. It was one of a handful of events that made up what we call the Arab Spring.
It looked like the era of Arab dictators was thawing out.
This feeling caught on in Syria. For years there was a growing discontent at the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. He and his family had been in power since 1971 and conditions in Syria continued to decline. In 2011, some school kids were detained for Arab Spring graffiti and when parents and community members protested their detention it escalated. Five people were shot by the military. This served to galvanize an opposition which Assad savagely put down. There is ample evidence that Assad had gassed his own people. The viciousness of the government attacks only snowballed the efforts of the resistance and the country fell into civil war. For more on this - click here.
As a result, eleven million Syrian refugees have left the country because of the civil war.
In 2014 the UN stopped counting the deaths - which then totaled over 250,000.
The whole thing is a mess, though. We can't just point the finger at Assad - as brutal as he is. The rebel group is made up of of a whole spectrum of people - Some Moderates, but mostly Jihadist groups like Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, Islamic Front and even ISIS members - and many of these troops and their commanders have committed war crimes. Some real bad hombres.
It makes you scratch your head - who are the real bad guys?
For their part, Russia has decided to back Assad and his government. This has enabled Assad and his government to almost take back Aleppo - the most recent attacks have given Assad control of over 90% of the city.
The coast and the other large cities in Syria all belong to Assad, so it is no question that without outside help, the rebels will certainly fail to do anything in Syria. As of 2016, the estimate is that we are up over 470,000 dead.
So there really is no bow to put on this. The entire thing is ugly and the only casualties are the kids caught in the cross-fire. Pray for the Syrians and do what you can to give them a place to flee to.