The world stands by as Aleppo suffers
The horrors of the Syrian civil war are an appalling reality, and more than 450,000 people have been killed, most being unarmed civilians.
11 million Syrian refugees have left their country in search of a safer life, with some going to Europe while others find asylum in the outskirts of Jordan and Lebanon. At the same time, half of the country’s population has been internally displaced.
While the rebellion on the Eastern side of Aleppo falls to the Assad Regime, ‘loyalists’ on the Western side celebrate the government victoriously restoring control.
The government justifies its actions by saying it is targeting ‘terrorists’ from Daesh (ISIS). The U.S. has led airstrikes against the area controlled by Daesh, but they have not intervened to stop the constant bombings on hospitals, schools, residential areas, orphanages and mosques.
Many Muslim nations in the Gulf Region have declared their support for various rebel groups while refusing to take in refugees. On the other hand, some Western countries have allowed a limited number of refugees in, despite the disapproval of their people.
The situation in Syria has widely been considered a failure on behalf of the United Nations, but failures tend to take place only after an attempt has been made. Countless speeches have been delivered at the UN to halt at least the war crimes, if not the war, but those UN resolutions do not have a real impact in Syria.
The extermination and atrocities committed on a daily basis elicit some not-so-pleasant memories from past events, such as the Srebrenica Genocide during the Bosnian War. Yet that experience, and many others like it, has not created a lasting impact to inspire change.
Residents of East Aleppo have sent their final goodbye messages to the world through social media as they wait for the Syrian Army to gain control and decimate the remainder of the city. Even those who are still alive and have been evacuated to the Western half of government-controlled Aleppo fear the consequences of simply being from the rebel-held east.
In what is being called “a complete meltdown of humanity,” Assad’s forces are entering the homes of those trapped in East Aleppo and executing inhabitants to make an example out of them. The people have desperately asked for a ceasefire, but even ceasefires fail to end the attacks.
“To everyone who can hear me, we are being exposed to a genocide in East Aleppo,” said Lina Shamy, an activist in East Aleppo in a video that she shared on her Twitter account. “This may be my last video. More than 50,000 civilians who rebelled against the dictator [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad are threatened with field executions or are dying under bombing.”
Injured civilians require urgent aid, but many hospitals have been destroyed by the constant bombardment, and doctors lack proper supplies.
The rebels trapped in Aleppo hopelessly await their death knowing that even after all the carnage, world leaders will continue to choose politics and power over humanitarianism under the guise of liberation, as is the case with Assad.
“There is no total number of casualties in besieged Aleppo today,” said a tweet from the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue team nominated for the Nobel Prize. “All streets and destroyed buildings are filled with dead bodies. It’s hell.”
There is no total number of casualties in Besieged #Aleppo today, all streets & destroyed buildings are full with dead bodies. It’s hell.
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) December 13, 2016
The Syrian War has exposed to the world how broken and disjointed the spirit of Muslim nations truly is when the time comes for them to help each other. The sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shias has also been brought to light as, in the case of most conflicts within Muslim countries, a contributing factor to the war.
As world leaders reflect on what could have been done to protect Syrians in Aleppo from the use of drones and chemical weapons by Russia and Daesh on unarmed civilian sites, the rebels fly the Syrian flag in the streets of the war-torn cities one last time before the Syrian army takes control.
The war might be coming to an end, but the rebel cause of a free democracy is still as alive as it was five years ago when a 15-year-old boy peacefully protested by spray painting anti-government graffiti that catalyzed the civil war.
The legacy of the Syrian rebels lies in the raised voices of dignified citizens that tried to bring change against what they perceived as injustice, but the failure of the rest of the world to learn from history and act on behalf of the targeted Syrians underscores this crisis and allowed manslaughter to become commonplace.
The tyrant President Assad might glorify his regime and think of himself as the savior of his country from rebellious insurgents, however, there is no victory in cruelty toward the innocent. He is not the leader of Shias or Sunnis or any other faction, but rather he is fundamentally a savage, modern day dictator-turned-murderer.
I. Bukhari is a print journalism freshman and can be reached at [email protected].