Article by Yahia Baghdadi (UWCD 2016-2018)
15th of March, 2011 is a very familiar date to all Syrians. It is a date that is quite controversial, as some people celebrate it, while others consider it a tragedy.
The Syrian Revolution, also known as the Syrian civil war or the Syrian crisis, started on that date. After the first spark of the Arab spring initiated in Tunisia, after Bou Azizi burned himself alive, the signs of revolution soon spread, and Egypt, Libya, and Yemen followed Tunisia. From this, the Middle East’s curtain of ignorance and blindness were drawn. The Syrian people soon followed in the footsteps of the other Arab states. The first protests were in Damascus, in the world’s oldest shop “Souk Al Hamydia”. The protest was faced with brutal power and many people were detained, which drove the people to revolt even further.
The most severe of clashes between the Syrian Police and the protests were in a state in southwestern Syria called Daraa. Hundreds of protesters went to the streets to call for their freedom. The police retaliated by spraying tear gas and firing at the crowds with rubber bullets. A group of children who were caught graffitiing phrases criticizing Bashar Al Assad (the Syrian President) on street walls were captured and jailed for two weeks. Once they were finally released, the children’s nails were removed as punishment for writing on the walls. This act did nothing but increase the public’s rage more and more.
The first 9 months were peaceful, the protests were huge and Police could not eliminate them all, or at least that’s what the people thought. Ten months into the Revolution, Bashar Al Assad gave the order to kill the protestors; the peaceful protestors that had not resorted to weapons yet. Part of the army refused to do so, unable kill their own people. Instead, they created the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which started fighting against the regime and protecting the people. It wasn’t long until everything started to take a civil war route, not long until people were killing each other based on religious views, not long until Iran interfered to save the Shiite and Allawi minorities in Syria.
Turkey soon did the same and fought alongside the Sunnis. Five years passed, and the cause for the Syrian people’s revolution had been altered and redirected so many times. It shifted from its true original purpose of freedom and peaceful, equal living to something very different. Few people still believe in their cause and stand to fight for it.
The situation in Syria escalated quickly after Russian forces interfered. Being interested in the Mediterranean Sea, Russia chose the side of the regime. This resulted in countless casualties, as Russia’s warfare mechanisms not only targeted fighters but civilians as well. As one popular Arabic quote says, “If you let the egg crack on its own, a new life will be born. However, if you crack the egg from the outside, you will cause nothing except chaotic disaster”. Syria’s future has never been as unclear as it is now, but the Syrian people will always keep believing in what they started and believe that the best is yet to come.