Syria: The world's broken heart
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The reports from Syria that the US-led coalition employed the use of white phosphorus in the city of Raqqa, one of ISIS's territories in Syria, represents the latest dimension of this harrowing civil war. The protests that transpired in Syria in March 2011 as part of the Arab Spring and the fight against dictatorial regimes ripened into a civil war by July of 2011, and innocent civilians have been heavily paying the price since. Earlier this month, US backed Syrian fighters made advancements in Eastern Raqqa against ISIS, and the US followed up it up with the use of white phosphorus. The use of white phosphorus in Raqqa, an incendiary weapon that can pose a significant threat to human lives upon exposure to air, to the extent of melting the human flesh to the bone, illustrates the magnitude of the threats to human security that Syrians are facing. The US's actions in Syria are part of Trump's plan to 'defeat Islamic terrorism', as ISIS are prevalent in large parts of Syria. However, his pledge to eradicate Islamic terrorism could have more plausibility if he had not just signed a historic arms deal with Saudi Arabia, one of the key ideological drivers behind Islamic terrorism. Nevertheless, the US-led coalition in Syria has stepped up the intensity in order to take back the city from ISIS, but this has been detrimental to Syrian safety. The Syrian crisis is already one of the worst humanitarian crisis in history, with reports suggesting 11% of the population has been killed or injured, and many more being displaced, internally and externally, which only fuels the growing refugee crisis. Thus, US forces upping the ferocity of their attacks, of which there is no indiscrimination of targets, with the hope of killing a few Islamic State representatives, will do more harm than virtue. Bombing civilian areas to halt the augmentation of ISIS and with the hope of safeguarding Western freedom, values and security has not worked for years, and has instead proved severely counter productive by causing the implosion of states and generating an environment in which the enemy being targetted can penetrate and use to strengthen. This is noticeable in Libya, Yemen and Iraq, and is no different in Syria. The enemy is galvanised whilst the civilians languish. How many more Syrians must fall before an alternative strategy is exercised? Moreover, the multitude of actors operating in Syria adds to the complexity of the conflict, and unfortunately, the casualties. The sectarian tensions that have been unleashed accross the Middle East, following the Iraq War in 2003, which expedited post Arab Spring, are contributing to consequential levels of violence. Accordingly, Saudi Arabia and Iran's influence in the escalation of sectarian tensions is compelling. Saudi Arabia's regional aspirations are paramount to their motives in Syria. Their insistence on being the prevailing hegemon in the Middle East coupled with their aversion of Iran and their Shia rule has led to Saudi providing financial and military aid in abundance to anti-Assad militants with the purpose of quelling the Iran-Syria alliance and the prospect of a Shia/Alawite political order in Syria, and subsequently, the Middle East.
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