Sample Case Study Paper on The civil war in Syria

A Case Study of Conflict Analysis: Syria

The civil war in Syria, which has escalated in scope over the last three years, has left over one hundred thousand dead and many others displaced. The war started in the southern parts of Deraa city in the year 2011. This was due to the protest that erupted as a result of arrest of certain teenagers who had painted revolutionary slogans on the walls of a school. The security forces of the government decided to open fire on the protesters leaving several Syrians dead. This action by the government caused a lot of tension in the city and more took to the street to demonstrate against what they called unjust treatment by Bashar al-Assad government. In this situation, the government decided to use strength to stop violence. In most cases, use of force to stop violence does not usually help reduce or stop violence because it does not address the issues causing the conflict like structural causes or even inequality. It also suppresses the violence and does not solve the conflict (Kurtz and Turpin 211). As in the case of Deraa, where the government tried to bring peace through force, they only achieved in escalating the conflict.

The unrest in Deraa caused demonstration in the entire nation. The demonstrators demanded for the resignation of the Bashar al-Assad and by mid-2011many of the opposition supporters took to the streets as the government use of force just made them more rebellious. They even started getting arms. The arms were initially for their protection but later they used them to chase away security forces from their local areas.

The violence that started as a mere demonstration in one city increased in scope and intensity and became a civil war. Different rebel groups were formed in order to take control of their local areas and to fight the government forces. By 2012, the conflict had reached Damascus and Aleppo.

Currently, the conflict has become more than just a fight between the government and opposition. It has drawn in their neighbours and the world powers. The rise of jihadists group has also increased the dimension of the conflict by causing fighting among the rebels themselves.

The main areas that have been affected by this conflict are Homs, Damascus, Aleppo and Kobane. Homs, which is also known as capital of revolution became the main battleground after the people of Homs embraced the call to overthrow the government. The government have been gradually taking over the city. In Damascus, the fighting is mainly between opposition forces and the government forces while the dimension of the conflict in this region has been increased due to infighting among the rebel groups. Kobane, which is mainly dominated by the Kurds had been taken over by the jihadists from the Islamic state. However, the Kurdish fighters backed by United States airstrikes have been battling the militants.

This conflict has a lot of adverse effects in Syria and the world at large. The major consequence of the war has been death and displacement of millions. The major killing was between the month of July 2012 and January 2013.This was the time when the conflict had reached the major cities.

The war has also had other consequences like crimes against humanity. Both parties involved in the conflict have committed crimes against humanity and they include torture of individuals, rape of women and children, and even forced disappearance. According to investigation, the government and rebel forces have been causing severe suffering to civilians. The main method used by parties to cause suffering is blocking food, health services and water from reaching civilians. This was used as a method of fighting by both parties. For instance, in Aleppo, around three thousands civilians were killed by bombs dropped in areas held by rebels. Fighters in Islamic States have also killed several individuals by beheading hostages and mass killing of religious minorities and security forces.

There also has been  use of chemical weapons by the Syria government in 2013.In August 2013; several individuals were killed after rockets filled with chemicals were fired at a number of districts around Damascus. After a reaction from the United States, President Assad agreed to get rid of such weapons in Syria. However, investigations have shown that the government of Syria is still using toxic chemicals mainly chlorine and ammonia in areas held by rebels between April 2014 and July 2014.

Displacement of civilians from their homes is another consequence of this conflict. It has one of the main exoduses in recent time. Over three thousand individuals have left Syria since the war started, the number constituting mainly women and children. The neighbouring countries have had to deal with large numbers of refuges in their countries. Apart from people moving to other countries, there is over six thousands individuals displaced internally in Syria, half of this number being children.

The main groups involved in the Syria situation are the fighting parties and other parties trying to help solve the conflict and protect human rights. The parties involved in the conflict are majorly the Syrian government, the rebels and the Islamic states. The other parties include the United States, Russian and the United Nations.

Islam states is an extremist group, which grew from al-Qaeda in Iraq. It has taken control over the territory across Iraq and Syria and with the conflict in Syria; they have taken advantage to enter Syria. Their foreign fighters in Syria have created war within a war. This is as a result of fighting all those rebels who oppose their tactics of fighting and ruling. This has led to infighting within rebels. Rebels groups are also divided due to fighting for supremacy between rival alliances.

The United nation’s main duty during this war has been providing relief food, water and medical care to the displaced people. The largest ever appeal for a single crisis by the United Nation was launched in 2013 seeking  six billion and five thousand dollars for providing medical, food, water and education for the affected parties in Syria and surrounding.

The Syrian war, which started as a simple protest against an unwanted leader has led to a more complicated war that has brought in regional and world involvement with different countries supporting the opposition or the Alawite led government. The government under the rule of President Assad has always had support from Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Shia Islamist movement .The opposition on the other hand has enjoyed support from Arab states, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom and France.

The United Nations and the Arab league have been trying to initiate dialogue between the opposition and the government, but the attempts have not yield any fruits. This is an indication that in order to solve a conflict one should not only look at the margins of the violence but also the different consequences that violence has on different cultures (Kurtz and Turpin 201). None of the parties involved wanted to concede defeat. This led to the United States, the United Nations and Russia to hold a conference in Switzerland where they made an agreement that was backed internationally. The agreement was that a transitional body was to be established in Syria on mutual consent.

The efforts of the United States, the other world powers and the United Nations trying to stop the conflict by trying to get the regime and the opposition to get to talk have not been successful. This is because they have not looked into the cultural part of the conflict. Culture is an important factor to consideration when dealing with any conflict because it frames the context of most violence (Cheldelin, Druckman and Fast 114).Understanding culture will enable one to understand the root of the violence and hence deal with the main cause of the conflict.

Another proposal made by those countries trying to resolve Syria’s situation was to charge those who committed the crimes against humanity to the international criminal court (ICC) in The Hague. However, China and Russia voted against the arrangement for which they were critiqued by the various human rights organizations. Their argument was that there is no way two parties are going to agree to dialogue if they know that after everything has been solved, they will be charged for crimes that they committed. It was going to be difficult to get them to dialogue especially if both parties involved have committed the crimes they are likely to be charged for.

Using a legal framework to solve any conflict is mostly effective where the force approach is considered too aggressive. However, such frameworks may not be very helpful especially where the legal systems have failed the civilians. This kind of framework has a lot of procedures and the common civilians usually feel like the process is too long and complicated and in the end no justice will be served (Kurtz and Turpin, 217).

In order to ensure that the conflicts do not escalate, they should be handled very carefully at the very early stage of the conflict. President Assad’s handling of the first incidence of the violence was very irrational and hence the current situation. The judicial system in the country should been more participative in the beginning to avoid the situation that the country is in now.

The international community have done a lot so far but they should also try finding the main course of the conflict and also try get rid of the Islamic states that have decided to capitalise on the situation and as a result increasing the scope of the conflict. This is because the war in Syria has grown into a proxy war. The Islamic states have caused another kind of war in Syria where rebels are fighting among themselves. Therefore, in order to effectively eradicate the conflict, the international community should try dealing with the infighting by first getting the Islamic militants out of Syria using their different technologies and security forces. After the Islamic States have been kicked off Syria then, the real problem without the influence of Islamic states can be identified and the problem fixed.

Understanding the strategies used by the different parties is also a key to resolving a conflict. This is because by understanding their strategies, one can be able to come up with better strategies to stop the conflict. The international community should try to find a compromise between the parties that are involved in the conflict. By both parties compromising then they both can gain and lose at the same time and they will be on the same level. This can make the parties to get to dialogue and as a result help stop the conflict.

In a nut shell, the war in Syria, which started as opposition against a leader they considered unfair and a dictator, has erupted into something bigger and now affects the world at large. This is due to the consequences the violence has brought on other countries of the world. The neighbouring countries are struggling with massive Syrians moving into their countries, as refugees. The world powers are using their resources trying to stop the conflict. The rest of the world is left in fear of the conflict becoming a world war or the chemical weapons getting their way into their nations. Therefore there is need to identify the real causes of the conflict like cultural reasons, inequality, political reasons and to come up with the most efficient way of solving the conflict.



Works Cited

Hocker, Joyce L., and William W. Wilmot. Interpersonal Conflict. Dubuque, Iowa: W.C. Brown, 2013. Print.

Turpin, Jennifer E. The Web of Violence: From Interpersonal to Global. Urbana: U of Illinois, 1997. Print.