Death is a fickle reality that highlights what we have always known. Life is fragile.
How the death of one being can at times evolve into something more than the person’s exit from this world; shows that compassion and love still endure in this age of indifference.
Aylan’s Passing; A Reminder To Humanity
The images of innocence drowning a painful demise have spread throughout various avenues of social media and several news channels carried the trend for days on end. Aylan Kurdi taught more to the world through his exodus than the cries of dying Syrians, the deaths of Palestinians or the realities of most war ridden countries, in the Middle East.
The three year old perished along with his brother Galip, aged five, and mother Rehan as their dinghy capsized while a futile attempt to reach the Greek island of Kos was executed.
What would compel a mother into allowing such perilous a journey to befall her children and herself?
The answer took more than five years to manifest itself into the form we witnessed with this tragic loss of life. It shares the reality of a country engulfed in fear and captained by totalitarianism.
What Went Wrong in Syria?
President Bashar al-Assad chose a path of tyranny at a time when compassion was desperately needed. The BBC and various media outlets report that his regime, armed to the teeth, has been battling rebel forces in attempts to silence those who oppose his office as well as the jihadists that have come into play while the country faces civil war.
The Trigger And Who Pulled It
The southern city of Deraa witnessed the arrest and torture of some teenagers over revolutionary slogans they painted on a school wall. This created massive public unrest as people took to the streets in pro-democratic protests in March 2011. Security forces, unable to contain the mass uproar, opened fire; killing several in the process.
As the country watched this horror unfold a nationwide uproar brew its inevitable eruption. By June 2011 hundreds of thousands had taken to the streets, demanding President Bashar al-Assad’s abdication. The government chose to continue its idea of democracy and pursued lethal action against those that spoke out against the President. The death toll began to rise.
Armed At Both Ends; Civil War
The opposition to Assad eventually had to take up arms, initially for defense but inevitably in the pursuit of an end to autocracy and nationwide injustice. By 2012 civil war was official with the capital, Damascus, falling victim to the violence as well.
United Nations estimated the death toll within Syria to have reached 90,000 by June 2013; a number which escalated to 191,000 by the end of August 2014 and over 220,000 men, women and children were confirmed to have died as of March 2015.
Religion: A Manipulated Excuse
The Syrian conflict of Pro and anti-democratic beginnings mutated into a highly concentrated religious sectarian war. ISIS chose to place itself in between the Syrian conflict as it saw promise in ultimately gaining control over the country or amassing militia and recruits in the turmoil that destroyed more than 11 million lives; displacing half the country. (An extremist group born from within al Qaeda chose to separate itself from its parent terrorist organization to establish ISIS or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.)
The extremists were soon known throughout the globe for their abhorrent war crimes and terrorist activities both within Syria and the world over. The group, funded massively and estimated to be the wealthiest terrorist organization to date, chose to fight the rebels, jihadists, as well as the Kurdish and government forces in Syria.
This added fuel to the wildfire that had already consumed a nation crying as death showed its face at every turn. A quagmire of war crimes surfaced in the country as war raged ever so consistently.
The UN made efforts to ensure that these blatant acts of horror were put to an end as reported by the BBC:
“In February 2014, a UN Security Council resolution demanded all parties end the “indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas”. Since then, activists say more than 6,000 civilians have been killed by barrel bombs dropped by government aircraft on rebel-held areas. The UN says in some instances, civilian gatherings have been deliberately targeted, constituting massacres.”
Homes destroyed, lives eradicated beyond any hope of repair; the country has become a land safe for its people no more. The only horrible yet necessary reality that manifested itself before every innocent Syrian was to leave or await their untimely demise at the hands of chemical bombs, the rebels, ISIS or the government’s militia whichever knocked on their door first.
It is therefore no surprise that the world has now witnessed one of the most prodigious refugee exodus in recent history. Over 4 million Syrians have fled the country since the inception of Syria’s turmoil.
What woeful insanity compelled this retribution from an elected official against his own people baffles the world to this day. The ripple effects eventually created waves erratic enough to destroy any hopes Aylan and his family had of reaching that shore.
A Precarious Future
The UN, in January 2014, along with Russia and the US, established the Geneva Communiqué which was an agreement calling for the establishment of a government run under the mutual consent of Syria and the communiqué’s committee.
The talks, more popularly known as Geneva II, eventually amounted to nothing as the Syrian government refused to discuss any opposition demands while stating that it wished to focus on fighting the terrorists. The term encompassed, as per the government’s definition of it, the rebels and opposition militia along with ISIS- This was stated by UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
An opposition with a Sunni Muslim majority, National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, has garnished the support of quite a few Arab countries along with the US, UK and France. It has, however, failed to make any lasting impacts on the country’s current civil war and with the inculcation of ever increasing jihadist groups from across the world international support to this “coalition” has seen a decline in recent times.
What becomes of Syria is now subject to international efforts from the UN as well as the Arab nations, the US, the UK or whichever country may find itself up to the challenge of reincarnating peace into a region colored red by the blood of innocent Syrians. The people left with no options but to flee their homes.