It started when a few schoolchildren scribbled anti-government graffiti on the walls of their town. What followed was more than six thousand deaths (a conservative number) and now what can only be called a civil war. In recent weeks, many journalists have been killed or injured, including a noted war correspondent Mary Colvin. It is difficult to get a picture of what is really happening in Syria. Thus, it is welcome news that New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson provides this in-depth report on Syria (now released from the pay-wall).
Throughout the region, nations took sides based on religion; the Shiite-led governments in Iraq and Iran supported Assad, while Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey insisted that he leave office. It is, for many, a proxy conflict. Iraq’s disenfranchised Sunni minority, who a few years ago received Syrian assistance for an insurgency against the U.S. military, have raised funds for the rebels and sent them weapons. The Arab League, fearing an enormous conflict, suspended Syria from membership in November and later called on Assad to step down.
This March 15 will mark the first anniversary of the beginning of the protests against Bashar al-Assad, when in 2011 Syrian protesters took to the streets on the “Day of Dignity”, a part of the larger Arab Spring wave.
This is not your simple machine-gun fire repression. As these satellite images show, Syria is preparing for an all-out war against its own citizens.
On a parting note, listen to this powerful protests song. It was apparently written by a truck driver and sung by one of the most popular singers in Syria. The singer, Ibrahim Qashoush, was murdered - some say the day after this video was filmed.