What Happened to Syria?

Even though public concern has dwindled, the horrifying conditions still continue.

What+now%3F+Many+people+have+lost+interest+in+the+Syria+debacle+and+yet+it+still+continues+to+this+day.+Bomb+strikes+and+militant+combat+still+plague+the+coutry
What now? Many people have lost interest in the Syria debacle and yet it still continues to this day. Bomb strikes and militant combat still plague the coutry

What now? Many people have lost interest in the Syria debacle and yet it still continues to this day. Bomb strikes and militant combat still plague the coutry

Abd Doumany

Abd Doumany

What now? Many people have lost interest in the Syria debacle and yet it still continues to this day. Bomb strikes and militant combat still plague the coutry

Jose Guzman, Staff Writer

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Even though the public mostly forgets it, the situation in Syria with ISIS  is still going on but is improving in some aspects.

The bombing of Syria and an ISIS caliphatea society/nation based on and ruled by a (usually radical) Islam leader were a hot button issue in past years. However, over time concern from the general public suddenly disappeared. The conflict continues into 2018, with bombings as recent as a couple of weeks ago. On the other hand, the “dream” of an ISIS caliphate is over, as the militant group has lost a majority of its territory. However, ISIS still isn’t defeated and is still causing fatalities.

Over the years, various countries have gotten involved in the turmoil, and it seems like political arguments and ceasefires have been in the headlines constantly. Since 2011, economic hardship and drought led poor civilians to protest against their governments. However, violence ensued afterward as many protesters were arrested and even shot. Eventually, different Islamic sects began to disagree with each other and those religious conflicts merged into the original, larger political conflict. The military was called upon to stop protesters. As turmoil ensued, protests to remove the Syrian president, Bashar Al-Assad, began to spring up. Russia stepped in to help Al-Assad as he lost more and more popularity among Syrian citizens. Sadly, the civil war has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and is still doing so as it continues.

However, in 2013 an offshoot of Al-Qaeda named ISIS/ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant, decided to spread their ideas of Islamic radicalism. The group began to attack Iraqi cities and eventually entered Syria. ISIS continued to gain territory, and by 2014 it was the wealthiest terrorist organization in the world with over $2 billion in revenue, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. ISIS envisioned a horrifying caliphate that encapsulated the Middle East, North Africa, Southern Europe, and Spain. Fortunately, by 2017 and 2018, the terrorist organization had fallen from its pedestal. It has lost almost 80% of its revenue and 60% of its land, with its most significant settlements being only the size of Belgium.

“With the airstrikes, the support of Russia, and the United States supporting the militias, we’ve seen their territory pretty much collapse on itself,” said Mr. Nicholas Pegarsch, a social studies teacher at Round Lake High School. “It’s good to see that they are losing power in terms of territory, but it’s still unnerving that you’re going to have broken, segmented pieces of ISIS that will seek to do more damage.”

It may seem easy to look the other way when it comes to the Syrian conflict, as things seem to be winding down and the United States does not seem to be that heavily involved. However, the United States has been involved in the Syrian conflict since 2011 by giving food and supplies to rebel troops. American intervention significantly increased when fighting against ISIS was incentivized. Thousands of bomb strikes were directed to militant stronghold and bases. These bombs did weaken ISIS significantly, but there were concerns about civilian deaths. The US only took responsibility for some of the deaths, but first-hand encounters counted possibly hundreds. The strikes have continued into the Trump presidency. Bombings have occurred as recently as February and are still ongoing, and tensions are still active in targeted areas.

Pegarsch understands how even the most aware and politically-active citizen could begin to tune out what is going on in Syria. “You have this hotbed of crazy amounts of violence going on, and it’s been going on for years,” said Pegarsch. “I hope that the international community could come together, but it just seems like nobody’s listening.”

It certainly can be hard to keep up with the ongoing political turmoil and it does seem like there is little to be done when even the politicians directly involved cannot come to an agreement. However, there is plenty that can be done, even as students thousands of miles away. People can help with the problem by donating to one of the many charities that support the ones afflicted. These include the United States Fund for UNICEF, Save the Children, Syrian American Medical Society, Doctors Without Borders, The White Helmets, International Rescue Committee, Islamic Relief USA, and many more.

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