The people of Syria are faced with a frightening catastrophe under the dictatorial rule of Bashar Al-Assad. Although they have launched a nationwide resistance to topple this regime but with Iran ceaseless political, logistic and military support, the Syrian dictatorship have remained in power up today and a large portion of the Syrian people have become homeless and displaced, putting themselves in danger simply to reach the shores of Europe. The question is what went wrong that Iran and now the Russian have found the chance to play their cards in this devastated country.
The U.S. policy in Syria on an absurd premise that considers ISIS as the primary destabilizing force in this country has helped Assad to continue its crimes against the Syrian people. No doubt that ISIS is a brutal group, but it is just one among many fundamentalist groups and proxies menacing Syria’s population. For all its cinematic viciousness, ISIS is a symptom of Syria’s disintegration, not the cause. This has always been Assad’s barrel bombs and aerial assaults that have killed civilians at a rate many times greater than ISIS. A Syrian army photographer who catalogued thousands of cases of torture and murder in Assad prisons has now spoken out about witnessing atrocities described as crimes against humanity and led to calls for Assad’s prosecution, as the Guardian reported. His photographs smuggled out on USB sticks before he defected with the help of an opposition group, showed the “systematic killing” of about 11,000 detainees in the custody of regime security forces from March 20 11 to August 2013.
This US flawed policy has not been able to solve the crisis in Syria but also has paved the way for more Islamic proxies foray into this country and then of course the Russian intervention.By staying silent on Assad’s crimes, the US has given Russia a convenient pretext for adventurism in Syria. Moscow now claims that its military buildup in Syria is to “supply the Syrian government...in its fight against terrorism”, and is now launching its own anti-ISIS bombing campaign. People in Syria deeply regret Russia opportunist meddling in their country particularly which has stalemated their fights and efforts to oust Assad and his perpetuator Mullahs in Tehran. As Russia increases its airstrikes, Iran has been expanding its already sizable role in Syria’s multisided war, despite the risk of antagonizing the U.S. and its Persian Gulf allies who want to push aside Bashar al-Assad.
The US as well as EU and the UN must stand for their obligations towards the people in this region. They cannot regain the moral high ground without publically calling Assad to account. Since 2012, the U.N. and NGOs such as the Syria Justice and Accountability Center have extensively documented Syria’s state policy of attacking civilians with artillery, barrel bombs, starvation sieges, and chemical weapons. Moreover, if the United States is going to push back on Iran in the aftermath of the nuclear deal to demonstrate to both Tehran and its regional allies that he is not abandoning the field and allowing the Iranians to make greater gains, Syria is the place to do it. As long as U.S. strategy remains myopically focused on ISIS, however, this is not practical, the Syrian crisis can only get worse and Iran and Russia will gain the control in this region under the same pretext of ISIS that has put Obama’s strategy on impasse.