Why We Should Continue US Involvement in Syria

The Syrian Civil war has completely devastated the country and has led to the displacement or death of over 11 million Syrians. Whole cities are being desolated due to the fighting between anti-Assad rebels, ISIS, and President Assad’s forces. Millions of Syrians have been forced to leave their homes trying flee the war. They are left homeless trying to find shelter wherever they can even if that means sleeping in an abandoned chicken coop.

Those who are fortunate make their way to the over crowded refugee camps in neighboring countries. Zaatari Refugee Camp, located in Jordan, is so large it has become the 4th largest city in Jordan with a population of around 80,000. While conditions in the camp are tough they have been able to set up dozens of mosques, 27 community centers, five schools, two hospitals, and nine health clinics through foreign humanitarian aid. Without aid from the US and other countries these camps would not be possible. Since the start of the Syrian Civil War the US has donated 4.5 billion. If we stopped giving aid their bad situation would only get worse.

If you don’t think we should continue aiding Syria because their situation doesn't directly affect the US, you should consider that the removal of US aid in Syria would allow The Islamic State to spread throughout Syria with little resistance. The Islamic State uses political unrest to thrive and spread within failing states.

IS proved this when the US withdrew from Iraq in 2011. At the time the country appeared to be stable but shortly after Iraq began it’s decline into turmoil. When Saddam Hussein was dethroned in an American led invasion in 2003, coalition forces started a campaign to punish those involved in Saddam’s regime. During this process the Iraqi army is disbanded, leaving 400,000 Sunni soldiers without jobs. The result leads to Sunni resistance fighters and Al-Qaeda starting an insurgency against occupying forces. One of these Sunni resistance groups, Jam’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, pledged allegiance with Al-Qaeda, becoming al-Qaeda in Iraq or AQI who later re-brand themselves as ISIS in April 2003. US officials The newly established, America backed, Shia-Iraqi government made it easy for ISIS to recruit Iraqi Sunnis. Sunnis in Iraq saw ISIS as liberators against their new oppressive. Under the Shia-government Sunni’s felt alienated and were often beaten and imprisoned.

If the US stopped sending aid to rebel forces then Syrians would have to look to The Islamic State in order to defeat President Assad’s forces and see ISIS as liberators just like the Iraqi people. They wouldn't really have a choice since Assad’s military forces are killing more Syrians than ISIS. In a 7 month period between January and July in 2015, Assad’s forces killed almost 8,000 Syrians while ISIS killed 1,131. If we let ISIS grow in Syria they will become more powerful and a bigger threat to the west.

Opponent of US intervention claim that the US is wasting money on a military stalemate. The opponents claim that continuing aid with just continue the civil war since Russia is aiding Assad’s forces. Though aid may increase the length of the war, the only way there will be peace in Syria is if Assad is removed from power and ISIS is eliminated.

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