Friday, February 5, 2016

Weekly Report 1: Syria

The article I found was concerning President Assad’s army taking two cities near the border of Turkey back from the rebels. The rebels had held the towns of Nabul and Zahraa since 2012 and the loss of these two cities is blow as it takes away a supply route for the rebels from Turkey. Turkey has been supporting the rebels and this victory was one that the Syrian Government had been working toward for three years; now their goal is to reach Turkey’s border in an attempt to cut off all aid that Turkey might provide the rebel forces. Government forces broke the rebels’ siege on the two towns after three days of intense fighting and resistance. Russia has been aiding the Syrian government in their fight against the rebels since September 2015 and provided 500 air raids in this fight alone. Syrian news reported that the government’s army was met with gratitude and rejoicing for defeating the rebels and driving them away.

At the same time this was happening, the peace talks, held in Geneva Switzerland, were paused until February 25. The US Secretary of State –John Kerry- said that the halt in the peace talks along with this fight show that the intent is to look for a military solution and not a political or diplomatic one and blamed the Syrian government as well as Russia for helping them as the cause of the pause in the talks. The Russian foreign minister,- Sergei Lavrov- announced Russia’s intention to continue to provide help to the Syrian government in the form of air strikes to defeat the rebels that he referred to as terrorists.

The Syrian war has been going on for five years and has killed more than a quarter of a million Syrians and has caused millions more to be displaced or to leave the country as refugees. After this victory for the government, there is likely to be an increase in fighting and just continue to cause the war to escalate as each side and their allies increase the violence.

With the help of Russia and other allies such as Iranian-backed militias and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, the war has gone in favor of the Assad regime and taking back these two cities may be the start or the government being able to take back massive amounts of territory.

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