Global leaders have failed to manage the Syrian crisis

2016-01-11 19:30

During the recent summer (December) holidays, a few friends and I travelled to Kilis and Reyhanli, near the Syrian border, where we met with Syrian refugees, orphans, widows, children, injured human beings and aid workers. Their experiences and narratives are heart-breaking and extremely saddening, too gruesome to pen. I believe the Syrian crisis is one of the greatest tragedies of the 21st century, another is currently unfolding in Yemen.

According to multiple reports Syrian people are searching for scraps to eat. Leaves, insects, plain water boiled with spices for taste and even cats have become the only sustenance for their survival, and even that is running out. The situation is beyond dire and the Russian military bombing, the winter cold and snow is making it worse.

My visit to the border towns between Turkey and Syria allowed me to see first-hand the lived realities. Their painful and touching stories and the fear in which they live, in Syria, made me understand why some of them are willing to risk their lives and the lives of their children and cross Turkey’s Aegan coast in hazardous conditions to reach Greece in search of a better life.

The people of Tukey need to be commended for living up to the Islamic teaching; “one is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbour goes hungry.”

Furthermore, Turkey is also fulfilling its conscientious and humanitarian responsibility by opening up its borders, building the most liveable and up-to-date refugee camps in the world and have accepted the Syrian refugees as fellow human beings.

It’s more than five years since the Syrian civil war started, and there seems to be no solution in sight. If global leaders had acted constructively when the unarmed uprising started against the brutal rule of Bashar Assad, it is possible that there might have been no refugee issues. But instead of supporting the legitimate rebellion against dictatorship, tyranny, lack of human rights and a brutal leader, global leaders turned Syria into a geopolitical chessboard to suit their own narrow interests, greed for power and domination, without any concern for the civilian population. The reality is that global leaders have miserably failed to manage the Syrian catastrophe.

The brutal Syrian regime is using barbaric tactics to punish and intimidate anyone who opposes their ruthless rule. For example, citizens from Madaya were very active during the start of the uprising for justice and human rights during the 2011 protests. Now they are being blockaded without food and medicine. The brutal Assad regime is literally starving thousands of humans to death not only in Madaya, but across Syria.

The Syrians we met in Turkey want the international community to help find an amicable solution to the crisis and start preparation for them to return home and restart their shattered lives.

The time has come for the world to get serious about resolving this conflict for the sake of the ill-fated Syrian people.

The Syrian society has unfortunately been deeply and irrevocably torn apart and divided by the civil war. Any attempt to bring about reconciliation without effectively addressing the suppression, exploitation, corruption and brutality that led to the legitimate resentment is destined to miscarry.

What is required to effectively resolve the Syrian crisis is for global leaders supporting both the brutal and autocratic regime and the “uprising” to basically change their egocentric strategies and participate in significant dialogues that will lead to real change, lasting peace and some form of government acceptable to the majority of Syrians and capable of effectively addressing their legitimate grievances.

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