Syrian civil war wages on as international response and media coverage falter

Jess Kaplan, Staff Writer

At its core, the Syrian Civil War is a conflict between an authoritarian regime and citizens who want to replace it with a more democratic government. But over time, it has devolved into one of the world’s bloodiest and most complex ongoing civil wars that has deeply divided the population and called upon foreign intervention.

After eight years of fighting, the United Nations estimates that more than 400,000 Syrians have been killed and five million have fled the country. As the conflict continues to become more violent, the more dire a solution becomes. Yet the international community is reluctant to become involved, and the media fails to fully cover the humanitarian crisis unfolding before us.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut solution to ending the Syrian Civil War. As of today, the war is divided among four sides, each with multiple foreign backers that include some of America’s closest allies and worst enemies.

Becoming entangled in this war is a large risk, as there are multiple enemies and it could further complicate U.S. international relations (with Russia in particular). The Obama administration became involved with Syria only after going through Congress, whereas the Trump administration launched airstrikes without a Congressional vote against the Assad regime after Assad used chemical weapons on his own civilians last April.

Additionally, those opposed to becoming involved believe that Western intervention will not lead to government stability, as it has previously failed in Afghanistan and Iran. In contrast, others believe that despite the inherent risk, it is the international community’s responsibility to stop the horrific violence. On Feb. 22, Sweden and Kuwait proposed a temporary ceasefire for the region of eastern Ghouta, which suffered horrific bombing from the Assad regime. If agreed upon, this ceasefire would allow for the delivery of food, water and medical supplies, and fighting would stop for an indefinite amount of time.

Although this is a step towards peace, few news sources have widely reported it. Instead the headlines that day were primarily focused on domestic issues. Reporting the conflict is obviously challenging due to the extreme danger faced by journalists reporting in Syria, yet it is still possible to provide broad political, economic, military and humanitarian analysis of the war without daily in-depth coverage.

Journalists tend to focus on a few humanitarian events in the war, rather than the big-picture issues. Additionally, many only receive one biased narrative of the conflict as opposed to a broader understanding of the war. This leads to a flawed understanding of what is truly happening, which is a huge humanitarian crisis that is greater than the current impression that the American public is receiving of it.

Conversely, the civil war in Yemen, which is just as bloody and chaotic as the war in Syria, is often overshadowed by Syria. Because Syria has received media attention (albeit limited), there is pressure for resolution as opposed to Yemen, where there is none.

The longer the war goes on, the more innocent lives are taken, the more infrastructure repair is needed, and, of course, the more far-fetched reaching peace becomes. Until then, we can only hope that more humanitarian aid will be provided.

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