What's Next for Syria?
Last Friday over 100 people were killed in the predominantly Sunni Muslim region of Houla, including 49 children. Following this horrific event, the United Nations Security Council will meet today to discuss possible action in Syria. Previously, Russia and China have used their veto to block resolutions that called for stronger action, but recent events have increased hopes for tougher consequences for Syria.
The President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, claimed that terrorist were responsible for the mass killing. Witness from the event said that the murders were committed by the Shabiha, a group previously implicated in violence against government protestors. The Shabiha is a Syrian gang, whose loyalties and identities are uncertain. While it is unclear who the Shabiha are working for, it is suspected by many that they are employed by the Syrian government. The group is known for killing innocent people, especially government protestors, and was responsible for killing and maiming protestors during the March 2011 demonstrations. Many believe that the Shabiha commits the crimes that the government cannot do without international condemnation and severe repercussions.
Regardless of the Shabiha's loyalties, these latest attacks have prompted many Western nations to expel Syrian diplomats from their countries. The United States has given certain Syrian diplomats notice, and is holding the Syrian government accountable for the killings. Similarly, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Candida, Australia, and the Netherlands have also expelled Syrian diplomats. Turkey will also be pulling Syrian diplomats from Ankara. Russia has acknowledged that the Syrian Government played a role in the killings, while not solely placing blame on the government. Russia is a major supplier of Syrian arms and just last week a Russian cargo ship was reportedly on its way to Syria. The recent violence in Syria has sparked Russian dissent from support of Assad and may be a sign of changing times.
The U.N. Security council condemned the Syrian government for the massacre, but Syria is currently still in the middle of peace talks led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan. The peace process depends on the Syrian government eliminating all acts of terrorism within the country. With violence rising again within the country, it is unclear what the future holds for Syria.
As the U.N. Security Council meets, it is important to consider our possible actions. Russia and China have reiterated that military action is not an option, and the White House seems to agree with this view. Whatever action is taken cannot be done alone. It cannot be only the West or only one region; it must be the entire international community standing up against injustice. So what do you think can be done? Leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts!
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