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View Full Version : Syria Update: ~1 Million People Under Seige


Porpoise101
November 21st, 2016, 07:15 PM
The number of people living under siege in Syria has doubled this year to almost one million, the UN says.

Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Stephen O'Brien said the figure had jumped from 486,700 to 974,080 in six months.
People were being "isolated, starved, bombed and denied medical attention and humanitarian assistance in order to force them to submit or flee," he said.

Mr O'Brien noted that the "deliberate tactic of cruelty" was mostly employed by President Bashar al-Assad's forces. "Those maintaining the sieges know by now that this Council is apparently unable or unwilling to enforce its will or agree now on steps to stop them," he told the UN Security Council.

Newly besieged locations include the rebel-held Damascus suburbs of Jobar, Hajar al-Aswad and Khan al-Shih, as well as several areas in the eastern Ghouta agricultural belt outside the capital.

Mr O'Brien also told the Security Council that he was "more or less at my wit's end" over the situation in the divided city of Aleppo, where an estimated 275,000 people living under siege in rebel-held eastern districts face "annihilation".

Mr O'Brien said hundreds of civilians had been killed in eastern Aleppo in the past week

A unilateral pause in aerial bombardment by the government and its ally Russia that began on 18 October had offered a "glimmer of hope", he said. But the shelling of civilian areas in the government-controlled west by rebel and jihadist groups and the resumption of air strikes last Tuesday, he added, had returned "the city and its inhabitants to death and destruction once again".

"Over the past days, reports indicate that hundreds of civilians have been killed, injured or otherwise affected by the relentless attacks on eastern Aleppo."

Mr O'Brien said that, as of Sunday, there were barely any functional hospitals in rebel-held areas, as all the medical facilities were being "bombed into oblivion"

The more than 350 mortars and rockets launched indiscriminately into western Aleppo so far this month are meanwhile reported to have killed more than 60 people and injured 350 others. A school was hit on the government side on Sunday, killing eight children.

"Let me be clear: we are not just seeing a resumption of violence in Aleppo, this is not business as usual," Mr O'Brien told the Security Council. He warned that humanitarian conditions in eastern Aleppo had also "gone from terrible to terrifying" and were "now barely survivable".

The last of the food rations delivered by the UN before access was cut off in July were distributed on 13 November. Only a handful of rations from local NGOs remain, food in markets is scarce, and prices have sky-rocketed.

On Sunday, the Syrian government said it had rejected a proposal by the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, for eastern Aleppo to be granted autonomy if jihadist fighters linked to al-Qaeda withdrew and the fighting stopped. The United States has meanwhile warned that Syrian commanders and other officials deemed responsible for military attacks on civilians would be held accountable. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, spoke of a dozen commanders and officers accused of directing attacks on civilian targets who Washington wants brought to justice. "The United States will not let those who have commanded units involved in these actions hide anonymously behind the facade of the Assad regime," she told the UN Security Council in New York. Source (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38056872) @ the BBC

It's a situation that gets worse and worse. The US won't do anything to fix it I imagine, and conditions will not get much better for people in Syria under Trump I would think. But we will see. The real crisis is that there are 250,000 civilians in East Aleppo without food, water, and after the Russians bombed the last hospital today, medical attention. And with the way things are going now, it can't get much better for them.

Some will defend Assad and appeal to stability. But I will ask these people: "What stability?" The war began because the man couldn't win over his people. I think it is incredibly naive to suggest that he can win them over just by reconquering territory. His people hate him. They will not stand for him while he bombs their families and friends. As long as he is in power and he continues to attack civilians, he will fail to fully reunite the nation.

Paraxiom
December 1st, 2016, 05:03 PM
Syria is functionally not actually a real state, with the massive mess going on in it.

I heard today that bombing Aleppo has stopped because of... bad weather! How amazing.

Porpoise101
December 1st, 2016, 07:59 PM
Amazing is definately an overstatement. In some ways the bombing is better because at least it is faster than the mass starvation and death from wounds which is what the Assad forces are pushing.

But I agree. Syria is not a true state. Rebel Kurds have set up a strong-ish and semi centralized government in the north 1/4th of the country. The Southern Front controls much of South (Arab control). ISIS of course is mostly in the Eastern territories. The government controlled territory is like a sponge; many pockets of resistance remain and this is where the people are being starved and bombed to death.

I wish I'd known this sooner, but this map (http://syria.liveuamap.com/) is quite helpful for seeing areas of clear control. Of course, it is limited in that the borders are often less defined than shown, but it is a good approximation of who controls what.

ClaraWho
December 2nd, 2016, 02:37 PM
So what does anyone propose as a potential solution? We can all see the horror and the problems, but it's extremely difficult to think of practical steps to resolution. I certainly am at a loss right now (shall we write to the UN with our ideas? :P).

~ Clara

Porpoise101
December 2nd, 2016, 07:21 PM
There are a few that I can see:

Europe Imposes Meaningful Sanctions on Russia-An unlikely proposition, considering Europeans depend on Russian exports like natural gas.
US Goes to War-The US won't do this probably as Obama really fell short on his 'red line' promises before, and Trump is pro-Assad.
UN Pressure Forces Assad to Open Up More Cities-This is the most likely scenario, and I hope it is the one which comes to pass.


If you really care to help Syrians, there are numerous aid agencies, both international and Syrian which help out Syrian people in war-torn areas. If you want, you could probably donate money or perhaps get people together to raise money towards their cause.

Uniquemind
December 3rd, 2016, 03:06 AM
There are a few that I can see:

Europe Imposes Meaningful Sanctions on Russia-An unlikely proposition, considering Europeans depend on Russian exports like natural gas.
US Goes to War-The US won't do this probably as Obama really fell short on his 'red line' promises before, and Trump is pro-Assad.
UN Pressure Forces Assad to Open Up More Cities-This is the most likely scenario, and I hope it is the one which comes to pass.


If you really care to help Syrians, there are numerous aid agencies, both international and Syrian which help out Syrian people in war-torn areas. If you want, you could probably donate money or perhaps get people together to raise money towards their cause.


The problem is a lot of those aid agencies have had their convoys destroyed and charity workers killed.

I'm surprised Syria has living people in it still.

Jinglebottom
December 3rd, 2016, 04:52 AM
We have 1 million refugees (possibly more) from Syria here, occasionally school asks us to bring our old clothes so they can collect them for the refugees. It's better than nothing I suppose.

Stronk Serb
December 4th, 2016, 06:31 AM
Well, I think aside from helping the refugees, we should look to resolve the war as fast as possible. I am pro-Assad because there is meaningful order on territories controlled by the government.

Porpoise101
December 4th, 2016, 11:40 AM
Well, I think aside from helping the refugees, we should look to resolve the war as fast as possible. I am pro-Assad because there is meaningful order on territories controlled by the government.
I am not sure which side to be on honestly. I do see the pro-Assad argument; he is a strongman and he says he can re-unify the country. However, I am not sure that he can live up on his promises because the rebels are more entrenched, especially the Kurds in the North. The people are also pretty radicalized, and considering that he is very unpopular, it may be that there will always be a sizable resistance against him, even without US support.

Uniquemind
December 7th, 2016, 04:48 AM
At this point the UN should take control over the region, implement a constitution modeled after the US constitution, and compromise with the remaining survivors and geopolitical interests on these 5 things:

1. The people get to leave Assad's regime.

2. The people get global assistance to rebuild, provided that long term western companies benefit from exclusive business deals as part of that rebuilding process (incentivize the west to get involved similar to how WWII countries got rebuilt).

3. Protect vital trade routes and ports that Russia and many other nations still need.

4. Broker a peace deal for the present and immediate future regarding religious differences that are the cause of flare-ups in upheavals in the region that undermine national stability. There are certain aspects of various religions that must go, in order for coexistence to flourish. If not you are left with an experiment where either side A wins or side B wins, and whatever winning side's faith better deliver, but usually doesn't because some religious figurehead goes and scapegoats problems on others redirecting outrage and anger into extremist beliefs which hurts all nations and humanity as a whole.

Paraxiom
December 8th, 2016, 03:58 PM
Europe Imposes Meaningful Sanctions on Russia-An unlikely proposition, considering Europeans depend on Russian exports like natural gas.

Hopefully unlikely indeed, because doing so will only make situations worse elsewhere in the interaction between the West and Russia.


US Goes to War-The US won't do this probably as Obama really fell short on his 'red line' promises before, and Trump is pro-Assad.

US going to war wouldn't go against their world image in my eyes (with recent/most history), though ground troops might be a better thing than drone bombing which I am sure has been responsible for (too many) deaths already.

I suppose there not being enough natural resources in the region is the reason to not get involved so urgently.


UN Pressure Forces Assad to Open Up More Cities-This is the most likely scenario, and I hope it is the one which comes to pass.

Best of the three options here.


If you really care to help Syrians, there are numerous aid agencies, both international and Syrian which help out Syrian people in war-torn areas. If you want, you could probably donate money or perhaps get people together to raise money towards their cause.

One of the most efficient ways to help them from where most of us are, yes.


The problem is a lot of those aid agencies have had their convoys destroyed and charity workers killed.

True.


I'm surprised Syria has living people in it still.

The sheer force of survival combined with the sheer difficulty in escaping are the best reasons I can find for that. I'm still surprised though.


Well, I think aside from helping the refugees, we should look to resolve the war as fast as possible. I am pro-Assad because there is meaningful order on territories controlled by the government.

I also support the shorter-term support of whatever de jure order there is to sort this out.

A lesser of evils - evil, but lesser.


At this point the UN should take control over the region, implement a constitution modeled after the US constitution[...]

Why a constitution modeled from the US constitution specifically?

The people get to leave Assad's regime.

Massively worthwhile in itself.


The people get global assistance to rebuild, provided that long term western companies benefit from exclusive business deals as part of that rebuilding process (incentivize the west to get involved similar to how WWII countries got rebuilt).

As long as rebuilding process doesn't have parts or all of it turned into good PR exercise for large multinationals and other similar things, I'm good with that.


Protect vital trade routes and ports that Russia and many other nations still need.

Yes. Avoid isolation as much as possible during reconstruction.


Broker a peace deal for the present and immediate future regarding religious differences that are the cause of flare-ups in upheavals in the region that undermine national stability. There are certain aspects of various religions that must go, in order for coexistence to flourish. If not you are left with an experiment where either side A wins or side B wins, and whatever winning side's faith better deliver, but usually doesn't because some religious figurehead goes and scapegoats problems on others redirecting outrage and anger into extremist beliefs which hurts all nations and humanity as a whole.

Which religions would you advocate for removal?