Syria’s Civil War & War That Didn’t Happen
On the morning of Aug. 21…
Reports emerged from a Damascus suburb of a satin gas attack, a grim event in a civil war that had already cost the lives of 100,000 people and spurred the largest refugee crisis in a generation. Chilling videos of women and children, some twitching, others lifeless, brought out the strongest reactions yet from an international community that has sat on the sidelines for much of the country’s grinding two-year-long civil war.
Ten days later, after releasing to the public an intelligence report determining that Syrian President Bashar Assad fired the weapons and killed at least 1,429 people, President Barack Obama announced that he was going to ask Congress for authorization to strike Syrian chemical weapons installations. While Assad and his allies dismissed these allegations, the rebels seeking his overthrow appeared poised for a major breakthrough.
And then it never happened. US public opinion was dead set against another intervention in the Middle East. Russia, one of Assad’s closest backers, managed to convince Damascus to cede its chemical weapons stockpile to a UN Security Council mandate. The Assad regime has reportedly been cooperating with UN inspectors as it goes about now eradicating its stockpile.
All the while, the civil war rages, hollowing out cities and scattering communities. The rebels — a loose coalition of militias at the best of times — have grown more fragmented, with rival Islamist and secular-leaning factions even clashing with each other. Peace talks set for Geneva early next year could not come sooner, but few are optimist of what they will achieve……..!