What can one say about Syrias plight?
I am more and more abandoning the idea that there is a good side in this conflict. None of the fighting parties deserves to be labeled „good“ and this applies to most of the backing countries as well.
On the one hand there is the government that puts a siege on entire neighborhoods and suburbs in order to have the rebels starve, fully knowing that there are many trapped civilians as well who simply live there and have no place to go. Lacking precision weapons the governments airforce drops barrel bombs on rebel held areas certainly hitting some fighters but fully taking into account that women and children are killed as well and usually in higher numbers.
Then you have the rebels who abuse civilian areas as places from which to ambush bypassing army soldiers or launching rockets in raw direction of government held areas simply claiming that they are targetting the „Shabbiha“. Shabbiha has become an all-violence-legitimizing defamation claim in the rebel vocabulary used on a daily basis to justify the execution – often as beheading – of any „suspect“ individual. To qualify as „suspect“ it is often enough to be identified as Alawite, Christian, Druze, Kurd, Shia or allegedly pro-government Sunni.
All parties constantly claim to be reacting to the other sides earlier (and supposedly „worse“) violence. All claim that the adversary is hated by the majority of the people and only existing due to external (foreign) help.
I am still in favor of the government side. While the government is undemocratic, corrupt and oppressive (just as it´s Gulf monarchy adversaries Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait) are, the government is neither religiously fundamentalist nor ethnically supremacist. It has many faults but it is definitely not sectarian. Both the regime and the army field so many high ranking Sunnis that it is totally inconceivable that the secular Baath party system categorically hates Sunnis and suppresses them on religious grounds. How should an army commanded to a high degree by Sunni Generals and listing 60%+ Sunnis openly declare and carry out a fight against other Sunnis and explicitly for the minority Alawites? This is nonsense and the entire allegations of sectarianism were from the beginning meant to incite Sunni sentiment all around the arab world and among Arabs living in Europe. The strategy worked and by now many Arab Sunnis have been radicalized and are flocking into Syria to wage „Jihad“.
One has to wonder how many of them ever considered going to Gaza or Lebanon or US occupied Iraq and Afghanistan to wage Jihad there…
The governments manner of warfare is indiscriminate. Entire city parts all over Syria have been levelled and turned to ruins by often „blind“ tank fire, artillery shells and aerial attacks. The insurgents cared for the ordinary people no more than the regime. Hardly any of the widely destroyed towns and villages was severely damaged before the rebels poured into those places, IEDed the roads and built sniper firing points and RPG shooting vantage grounds.
In the Salafi mindset of most Jihadists, especially those originating from outside Syria, the utter destruction of the country and it´s gradual „Afghanization“ is not a price too high if the end result would be the eradiction of the „infidels“ or „apostates“ and the subsequent establishment of an „islamic state“.
The Saudis, Qataris, Turks, Jordanians but also the Americans, the British and the French do not care for the Syrians and for the well-being of the Millions of the refugees and the displaced and trapped civilians. If they did as they claim they would have stopped the Wahhabi arab states from recruiting, paying, training and smuggling sectarian Salafi fighters to Syria. They would have put pressure on the „opposition“ to negotiate with the Syrian regime instead of setting preconditions that were only meant to sabotage any negotiations.