The Syrian Protests
Syria is at a critical stage following the recent domestic unrest that has attracted international attention. The anti-government protests began in mid-March this year with citizens calling for meaningful economic and political reforms. Unfortunately, the military-backed government responded to these calls violently; killing hundreds of anti-government protesters. More recently, there has been much international condemnation over the government’s use of lethal force against the protesters.
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Nevertheless, the Syrian government blames armed groups of violent attacks on the citizens and “unarmed” security forces killing 300 soldiers. The Syrian unrest has many implications in the region and the government’s attack on peaceful demonstrators is likely to affect Syria’s international relations. The Syrian government’s response to the uprising has been excessive use of force to quell the violence and consolidate power.
The International Community’s Response
The Syrian government’s response to the protests is likely to affect international relations in many fronts. Firstly, the international reactions to the Syrian unrest and the Syrian government’s response have raised the concerns of Western governments including the United States and European countries.
Many Western governments have expressed condemnation over President Al-Assad’s violent response to the peaceful demonstrators. Secondly, following the uprising, many people are fleeing Syria into the neighboring Middle East countries. Many of these refugees pose a security threat to the country of destination. The Syrian government reports that 700 people, described as terrorists along with their families, escaped custody of Syrian authorities and entered Turkey.
From the human rights front, the Syrian government is accused of human rights abuse. The mass killing of protesters and dissenting military is likely to lower Syria’s international rating with respect to human rights. The London-based Syria Observatory for human rights reports that, over 1,100 civilians have died following the protests. Additionally, about 10,000 people are incarcerated in jails since the start of the uprising.
The Syrian government’s violent response to protesters that has led to mass killings, gross abuse of human rights, and the fear of terrorists infiltrating into neighboring countries like Lebanon and Turkey; will inevitably affect international relations attracting sanctions or military action to force the government to implement necessary economic and political reforms.
Following the Syrian’s uprising and the government’s violent response, the credibility of the Syrian government in the international arena is low. Instead of implementing necessary reforms, President Al-assad mobilized the military to quell the Syria’s internal strife.
The military operation has resulted into the deaths of over 300 military personnel and over 1000 civilians. The regime has deployed its army to counter the uprising resulting into an internal war. Currently, Al-Assad’s regime is fighting to stay in power and is using all means to quell the insurgency against the will of the citizens.
The mounting international pressure on the Syrian government to stop the killings and human rights abuses is an indication that in the international opinion, Syria’s current regime is illegitimate and dictatorial. President Al-Assad is under much criticism from the United States, European countries and Asia to step down and allow regime change.
The uprising is motivated by need for democratic change hence has the support of the international community. However, the regime’s response to these protests, including killings, abuse of human rights, and detention of civilian, makes Al-Assad’s regime illegitimate; hence, the international sanctions and call for regime change. The international community is calling for a guided political transition to prevent the uprising from escalating into a civil war.