The purpose of this assignment was to collect opinions on the causes of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, emphasizing potential approaches the United States might take in response to the situation. The current conflict between the Syrian government and rebel forces has been ongoing for the past eight years, and civilians are taking the brunt of the damage. Many are dying in indiscriminate attacks from both sides, while others are fleeing their homes to seek shelter in neighboring countries. As the United States, a significant player in the conflict, is currently in the process of withdrawing its armed presence, the opinions of its denizens are of interest.
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The first person interviewed claimed that the Syrian government was responsible for most if not all issues in the country due to oppressive and inhumane policies. This person deemed the conflict inevitable, stating that even if the state’s forces win the current struggle, the political structure will eventually be overwhelmed by popular resentment. However, the interviewee supported the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, claiming that the United States had invested too many resources in a pointless cause. The individual further expressed the opinion that the current movement had become too radicalized and would not improve the situation if it won.
The second person supported the argument of the first responder, citing Assad’s continued oppression of Kurds as an example. However, this person was also aware of rebel atrocities, especially those committed by the radical Islamist segment, and stated that both sides were equally wrong. The interviewee was in favor of retaining a small U.S. military presence in Syria to establish a protected zone, also suggesting that the United States should offer humanitarian aid such as constructing schools and other infrastructure in the protected area in conjunction with more general supply distribution missions that would occur country-wide.
The third person blamed the United States for its continued policy of interventionism for the sake of destabilization. This individual claimed that without continued aid by the United States and its coalition, the rebels would have been eliminated soon after the conflict began, restoring order. In addition, the interviewee did not consider Russia’s involvement a valid reason to intervene as the state was working to restore peace quickly and efficiently. This individual was in favor of a complete withdrawal from the conflict, claiming that it would eventually lose momentum and de-escalate. Further suggestions included focusing on closing the routes used to deliver weapons to the combatants as an alternative to active military aid.
The fourth interviewee described the humanitarian crisis as an inevitable result of the continuing conflict and refused to discriminate between the differing sides. This person’s opinion was that anyone who would fight for years in the face of conflict that devastated the land and people does not deserve to be in power. As such, the interviewee declared the war pointless and expressed a desire for its swift resolution. This person suggested that the United States should help the rebels negotiate a surrender with minimal repercussions for those not guilty of war crimes. The two reconciled groups could then focus on rebuilding the country with aid from other nations.
The fifth and final interviewee claimed not to be aware of the specifics of the situation but assumed that nobody was blameless. This person claimed to have only ever heard of further violent developments in the region and had never learned about any attempts to reach a peaceful resolution. Thus, the individual supported the withdrawal of American forces from the area, noting that the deployment never seemed to achieve anything productive. The person described the missions as a waste of taxpayer money and suggested that the countries that helped fuel the fighting should now compensate Syrians with humanitarian aid.
Overall, the various respondents identified every group that participated in the Syrian conflict as at least a partial contributor to the ongoing crisis. They described the government as oppressive, the rebels as radicalized and violent, and foreign intervention as malevolent and harmful. Such sentiments are logical, considering the duration of the fighting despite the international involvement that has presumably been intended to end the conflict. As such, it is also no surprise that all interviewees supported a complete or extensive American withdrawal from the country. In short, the interviewees saw the forces stationed in Syria as a drain on resources that, rather than contributing to a solution, actually escalated the violence. Respondents also expressed considerable support for increased humanitarian aid, possibly as a form of compensation.