SPHU 4330 Syrian Civil War

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Syrian Civil War:

Syrian Civil War Hannah Craig, Victoria Cavallino, Maddie Brenner, Shelby Brown, and Chris Lapeyre

Syrian Civil War as a Human Rights Issue :

Syrian Civil War as a Human Rights Issue “...the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, with over a quarter million killed, roughly the same number wounded or missing, and half of Syria’s 22 million population displaced from their homes. But more than that, Syria today is the largest battlefield and generator of Sunni-Shia sectarianism the world has ever seen, with deep implications for the future boundaries of the Middle East and the spread of terrorism.” -Andrew Tabler (Expert on Syria from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Vulnerability :

Vulnerability Prior to the outbreak of war, Syria had several areas of vulnerability that were exploited and eventually led to conflict Economic Vulnerability Extreme inequalities in wealth and privilege between Syrian elite and poor urban populations Social stratification due to wealth distribution (us-and-them mentality) Agriculture accounted for 25% of gross domestic product prior to drought Reduced to 17% after drought Farming families reduced to poverty and forced to migrate to urban centers Political Vulnerability Authoritarian rule Censorship, surveillance, violence against opponents of regime Fragmented political structure Alternative to authoritarianism is complete political instability and extremism Development of Proxy war, donor countries seek to prioritize their interests which creates disjointed support and conflict

Vulnerability Contd. :

Vulnerability Contd. Environmental Vulnerability Unsustainable environmental and agricultural policies left Syria vulnerable to disaster Massive overuse of land and water resources under President Hafez al-Assad Exploitation of groundwater extraction Major drought in Fertile Crescent from 2006-2010 Destroyed crop yields and livestock herds Led to surge in Syrian food prices Food and fuel subsidies cut by President Bashar al-Assad Sectarian Vulnerability Fear of Sunni takeover perpetuated by Syrian government Sectarian leaders exploit religious tensions Leads to fear and increased instances of violence Opportunity for radical Sunni regimes to rise to power Environment allows for terrorist groups to capitalize on fear and conflict


Causes Wave of anti-authoritarian sentiment sweeps through Tunisia and Egypt and eventually reaches Syria Clashes between protesters and government forces escalate to full-scale war between anti-regime rebel forces and Syrian government Syrian President Bashar al-Assad uses extensive censorship, surveillance, and violence against anti-regime protesters Children are arrested and tortured for creating anti-regime graffiti Sparks widespread peaceful protest President Assad approves use of force against demonstrators including mass arrests and gun fire Most protesters belong to the Sunni majority, while military forces are largely comprised of Alawite minority members Present Assad uses propaganda to create fear in Alawite communities Fear of Sunni-led violence against non-Sunni communities


Causes The Syrian Civil War is complex, with diverse stakeholders and motivations Conflicts include: Syrian government v. anti-regime rebel forces Sectarian war (Alawite minority and Shiite forces from Hezbollah and Iran v. Sunni rebel troops) Developing proxy war involving Russia and Iran v. The United States of America and other allies Violence has escalated to include the use of tanks, artillery, and suspected chemical warfare Indiscriminate air attacks by Syrian and Russian forces Aleppo Rebel-held Aleppo falls First signs of regional proxy war Violence still continues today







2014 & 2015:

2014 & 2015

2016 & 2017:

2016 & 2017

Humanitarian Impact:

Humanitarian Impact More than 250,000 Syrians have died due to the conflict Some sources estimate as many as 470,00 have died due to direct/indirect effects from the war Life expectancy has dropped from 70.5 years (2010) to 55.4 years (2015) Civilian Suffering All sides (rebel, government, terrorist) have been accused of blocking access to food, water and health service as a method of war 6.8 million people are displaced within Syria while 4.8 million (22% of original population) are refugees in other countries 600,000 civilians live in besieged areas Estimated 13.5 million people in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance Loss of Cultural Sites Almost all UNESCO World heritage Sites have been destroyed along with many other historically import sites

Economic Impact:

Economic Impact Broad economic devastation in territories held by rebel groups, IS, as well as the Syrian government Syria’s economy has contracted more than 50% and is projected to contract by 6.4% annually Negative real GDP growth rate since 2011 Reductions in manufacturing and agriculture Exports lost nearly 80% of real value from 2010 to 2015 Government revenues below 7% of GDP Majority of oil fields are under ISIS control Oil - 50% of exports in 2010 Total ongoing infrastructure destruction amounted to $75 billion in the spring of 2016


References https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/10/syrian-civil-war-guide-isis/410746/ http://www.cfr.org/global/global-conflict-tracker/p32137#!/conflict/civil-war-in-syria http://journal.georgetown.edu/isis-and-the-civil-war-in-syria-the-challenge-for-u-s-foreign-policy/ Colin P. Kelley, Shahrzad Mohtadi, Mark A. Cane, Richard Seager, and Yochanan Kushnir. Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought PNAS 2015 112 (11) 3241-3246; published ahead of print March 2, 2015, doi:10.1073/pnas.1421533112. Syria Chronology of Events : Security Council Report. (February 2, 2017). Retrieved March 12, 2017, from http:// www.securitycouncilreport.org/chronology/syria.php Chemonics International. Syria Regional Report. (October 18, 2016). USAID. Retrieved March 12, 2017.

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