The civil war in Syria has created a situation where the Syrian people are living in horrific conditions. There are war crimes, as well as other violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses that are not being addressed. The individuals who are committing these crimes are not being held to account.
Syrian government forces are maintaining lengthy sieges and restricting access to humanitarian aid, according to the latest report from Amnesty International on human rights around the world.
Additionally, there is evidence that thousands of Syrians have been displaced. Syrian security forces have arrested and continue to detain tens of thousands of people, including peaceful activists, humanitarian workers, lawyers, and journalists. After being detained, these individuals have been subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.
International intervention, however, has been blocked by Russia and Iran, both of which are actively working to keep the UN Security Council from pursuing any type of accountability for the Syrian government. In April 2017, Russia vetoed a resolution that condemned the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. Russia vetoed another resolution to expand the mandate of the organization the UN established to investigate chemical weapon attacks and determine responsibility for their use in Syria.
Additionally, terrorist groups, such as ISIS, continue to be active in the country, although international forces have reduced their numbers and control within Syria. While ceasefire agreements have been negotiated, but the parties have not kept to the agreement.
Efforts to broker peace between Assad’s government and the rebel forces throughout Syria have had limited results. International representatives have attempted to de-escalate the violence, but this has also had limited impact. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry by the UN Human Rights Council continues to monitor the situation, but they have not been allowed access to Syria by Assad’s government.
According to the NGO Physicians for Human Rights, government forces carried out air strikes on three hospitals in Idleb governorate on September 19, killing a staff member, destroying ambulances, and damaging the facilities. On November 18, Syrian and Russian forces carried out air strikes on a large market in Atareb, an opposition-held town, killing at least 50 people, mostly civilians. These are just a few examples of the realities of the Syrian people.
Yet, not only do they have to deal with abuse from the Syrian government, they also have to deal with abuse from the various armed groups that are moving throughout the country. In addition, the unstable environment of Syria has left many Syrians living as refugees in camps of neighboring countries without the basic necessities.
Armed opposition groups are also committing to sieges, restricting humanitarian aid, medical aid, and other goods and services from reaching these towns and cities.
The situation in Syria is one of constant human rights abuses on both sides, and the Syrian people are paying a heavy price for this conflict. Without strategic international intervention, there is unlikely to be any real change in Syria.