For years now, the political power play in Syria overshadowed the plight of Syrian civilians.
Just this week, the news about Russia, a long-time ally of the Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, sending military equipment and personnel into Syria prompted more international concern than the fact that Assad’s forces killed more than 30 civilians in the northern city of Aleppo.
There were images posted online, showing screaming men carrying wounded civilians away from collapsing buildings.
But that’s how politics has always been. The loss of human lives – or collateral damage – has always been secondary, in fact tertiary, to strategic interests.
Even in the news, Syrian civilians go unnoticed. Their woes and miseries are reported in sub-headings while a major portion of the articles focus on the sectarian conflict or on the blame game played between the two conflicting forces responsible for the destruction of the country.
At one hand they are being bombed by Assad and on the other, the Islamic State terrorists are ruthlessly massacring them. The ones who flee have their own set of challenges.
It’s only when an image of a drowned 4-year-old refugee boy emerges the world bothers to pay attention to what exactly is going on in Syria. However, the outrage mostly turns out to be temporary and nothing really changes.
As of June 30, the conflict in Syria killed nearly 11,100 people this year, according to USAID figures, with most of the deaths caused by attacks carried out by the Syrian Arab Republic Government (SARG) and pro-SARG forces – nearly 7,000 civilians. Apart from the loss of life, more than 11 million people have been displaced, including 7.6 million internally and more than 3.9 million to neighboring countries.
The fact that Russia is stepping up efforts to help the Syrian regime is not what should cause international concern. It’s the dire consequences of that military alliance on the people of Syria that should upset world powers.
But it doesn’t. Not unless the same people reach their borders.