Throughout the conflict dating back to spring 2011, our focus has been on the warring factions and the large displacement of Syrian refugees as well as loss of many lives. In addition to these significant topics, Syria holds some of man’s oldest preserved historical sites which still possess a multiplicity of secrets yet to be discovered. Now these sites which are usually under protection are being robbed of their artifacts, looters are destroying these “dead cities” in search of valuables. Detractors argue during this time of crisis, what advantage is there in cataloging these damaged sites? Archeologists suggest knowing which sites have been damaged when the fighting subsides will be the first step to rebuilding and or recovering what has been lost. The preservation of historical sites is invaluable to all students of history and has unfortunately become another casualty during this conflict.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama declared Syria's main opposition group the sole "legitimate representative" of its country's people.
Benjamin DeRita's insight:
This most recent development regarding the Syrian Civil War may shape the conflict going forward into 2013. A month after meetings in Qatar, the United States is now giving recognition to what it has deemed the most legitimate rebel group in the form of the Syrian Opposition Council. Most importantly in this writers opinion is the blacklisting of known al-Qaida groups hijacking the rebel cause. It is now known terrorist groups are among a fraction of the rebels attempting to seize any form of power that should come out of a failed Syrian state. Along with this was last week’s developing story of the possible use of chemical weapons stemming from reports of pro al-Assad militant groups preparing “sarin.” Global leaders and allies of the United States made a clear proclamation that the use of chemical weapons by al-Assad on his countrymen would not be tolerated. As of now the organization of the rebel alliance up to US specifications is a step, but in what direction? With winter approaching an estimated 500,000 refugees are currently displaced as a result of the Civil War, exposer could add to the already 40,000 dead in the coming weeks. Finally, as a direct result of the elevated status of the Syrian Opposition Council, they are expected to receive non-lethal humanitarian aid and possibly direct representation in Washington in the near future.
News of NATO approval for Turkey to mobilize Patriot missiles on the southern border for defensive purposes marks another chapter in the ongoing Syrian conflict. Russia in particular has been supportive of the rebel opposition; voices against this move for it may only increase the possibility for violent recourse on both sides if fired. Turkey also has cause for concern in using the missiles, its effect on the ethnic Kurdish population which inhabits shared boarder locations, could be further disastrous. Iran has been the major proponent for al-Assad and the Syrian government, supporting the Shiite sect against the Sunni majority. Most importantly this most recent and ongoing manifestation of the Arab Spring is a complete mess, and victory by either side is unclear at this time. While the opposition has made gains the government regime has held on to power throughout. Whereas the Kaddafi regime was aided by foreign intervention, the US and allies are weary to arm or help the opposition for fear of supplying terrorist organizations with not only resources but a state to control in the aftermath. Since spring 2011 an estimated 40,000 people have lost their lives in relations to the conflict in Syria.