Syrian Civil War Is Still Going
While the world’s stage has stopped paying attention to the civil war in Syria, the conflict has continued through today. By most accounts, the civil war has been winding down as fractured insurgencies surrendered, with the exception of Kurdish strongholds in northern Syria.
Even though the civil war has been slowing down, civilians are still losing their lives in the conflict and experiencing extreme violence. In July 2019, airstrikes in Idlib killed 100 people over a 10 day period. In response, the UN called out the apparent international indifference to the violence and loss of civilian life.
From January to August 2019, over 1,800 civilians lost their lives in Syria including 468 children and 406 females. Torture still continues as 159 deaths have been recorded due to torture in 2019.
In the last two years, the Syrian military has been slowly capturing rebel strongholds and have now gained back a majority of the country. In early August 2019, The Syrian military captured a strategic northern town held by rebels for over five years. Civilians were at a detriment when Syrian military regained control of the territory. Over 76,000 people were forced to flee in a week's time.
Today, the Syrian military has secured the capital of Damascus, and other rebel strongholds around the country. While Assad has a majority control, he still has not gained control of Idlib and small slices of three adjoining provinces where an estimated 3-4 million people live. Most of the current civilians in these rebel strongholds have seeked refuge from other parts of the country that were destroyed by the conflict.
Assad has insisted that there is no way to end the civil war than to regain every inch of Syrian territory. More than 80 cease-fire agreements have slowly taken affect as rebels have surrendered slowly since 2011. Despite a series of cease-fires, peace talks have stalled alongside the conflict in certain strongholds.
Even if Assad and the Syrian government begin peace talks, a negotiated end to the civil war is highly unlikely. There is very little to no trust between the sides after years of civil war. The UN Security Council also took a stand against brokering peace talks until all sides cease their use of heavy weaponry.
If the Syrian military wins back Kurdish strongholds and other rebel held territories, a hollow victory for the regime is at best the only end in sight. The country is inhabitable in the nation's largest cities of Aleppo, Raqqa, Homs and Damascus. These cities have been reduced to rubble. The notion of "peace" in Syria is a far dream that may never come in the near future.