Can the Conflict in Syria be Solved?

The conflict in Syria has raged for nearly five years. The war in Syria was sparked due to Syrian civilians rebelling against their government. Throughout the years the conflict has grown far beyond a civil war status. Multiple groups have gotten involved with the Syrian military (Syrian Armed Forces), terrorist organizations, and multiple rebel militia groups. Not only are these military organizations attacking the Syrian government but they are attacking each other.

The Syrian military is being helped from a few allied countries: Russia, Iran, and Iraq; making a military group consisting of President Bashar al-Assad’s troops, Iranian troops, Hezbollah, and militias. However the opposition from this group is not as easy to link together. There are two large military groups consisting of multiple countries and two terrorist organization in opposition of the Syrian Government. The two groups are Army of Islam and Free Syrian Army. Army of Islam consists of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait. Free Syrian Army consists of United Kingdom, United States of America, France, and Jordan. Leaving the terrorist organizations, al-Qaeda and ISIS (Daesh). Although all four of these groups are opposing the Syrian Government and allied forces, they are at odds with each other. Both the Army of Islam and Free Syrian Army support each other on waging war against al-Qaeda but they both disagree on support of a group known as Kurds and there is a high debate over whether or not countries consisting of the Army of Islam have supported ISIS when they claim to be trying to eradicate ISIS. Kurds are a special group that is thrown into conflict between the Syrian Government and allied forces, Army of Islam, al-Qaeda, and ISIS. Kurds have support of the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Government and allied forces. Although Israel is not involved in the conflict there is a high possibility of the war in Syria spilling into Israel; therefore Israel is in constant vigilance.

The Syrian Civil War is a toxic conflict that continues to grow. Within its fifth year of conflict, is there truly a way that the conflict will be solved? Or will the war wage on until all groups but one have expended all of their resources?

There are three specific obstacles that are inhibiting peaceful resolutions. If these three obstacles are eradicated then peace can be achieved:

  1. Whether the current Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is replaced or allowed to stay in power under certain guidelines.
  2. To extinguish terror groups within Syria.
  3. The Western allies need to loosen control over the government in Syria.

There are practical approaches to this conflict but as war continues hope to restore what has been broken as began to dwindle. The Syrian Civil War began because of social inequality and desire for freedom from repression of the Syrian Government. Since the Syrian Government used force to suppress the publics out-cry for political and economic reform the focus by the public became to overthrow the government. The only possible solution is either victory or death to many exhausted groups in Syria. Overall, the civil war can be seen as a zero-sum game where the gain or loss is ultimately balanced by the losses or gains of each group. Another reason is that the resolution in Syria relies heavily on international powers coming together on a resolution through compromise. This also involves groups who despise and want to eradicate other groups that would be involved with resolution talks such as al-Qaeda and the United States. Many countries and groups that are involved in the conflict that if a resolution was met there would still be many unsatisfied groups; therefore would the conflict actually be resolved? Or would the “big players” be the only ones to “cash out”?

The resolution of the conflict in Syria is both seen as achievable and impossible from different perspectives. Is there a solution to the problem, can Syria be fixed, or will the war continue to involve innocent lives, destroy homes, and throw countries economies into jeopardy?

1 April 2016