International Relations Essay

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An International Perspective on Syria Syria’s civil war continued in late 2013 despite international debate on how to mediate the nearly two and a half year old conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions more. But what are the reasons behind the violence and what is being done to stop it from getting any worse? The trouble began in 2011 in the Syrian city of Deraa. Locals took to the streets to protest after fifteen school children had been arrested and reportedly tortured for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall. The protests were peaceful to begin with, calling for the kids’ release, democracy and greater freedom for people in the country. The government responded angrily, and on March 18, 2011, the army opened fire on protesters, killing four people. The following day, they shot at mourners at the victims’ funerals, killing another person. People were shocked and angry at what had happened and soon the unrest had spread to other parts of the country. At first the protesters just wanted democracy and greater freedom. But once government forces opened fire on peaceful demonstrations, people demanded that the President, Bashar al-Assad, resign. President Assad refused to step down. As the violence worsened, he offered to change some things about the way the country is run, but the protesters did not believe him. There is not a clear, single group of rebels, united against President Assad. The opposition, who all want the president to step down, is split between groups of rebel fighters, political parties and people living in exile, who cannot return to the country. The Free Syrian Army is the largest group fighting military battles against the government. It is far smaller than the government’s army; it is poorly equipped and most of its fighters have only had basic training. There are many smaller military groups all fighting

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