Civilians Suffer at the Hands of Their Government

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The Who: 

  • Military: Syrian military forces, backed by and pro-Assad (supported by the US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia) 
  • Rebels: Syrian citizens/freedom-fighters, home grown and against Assad (supported by Russia and Iran) 
  • Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS: a terrorist organization that follows the Salafi doctrine of Sunni Islam 

On April 7th, 2018 a chemical attack was reported to have taken place in rebel-held Douma, a suburb east of Damascus. The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organization, a nonprofit humanitarian organization that provides medical support to individuals in the region, attributed 70 deaths to the use of chlorine and sarin nerve agents. Over 500 citizens were rushed to nearby medical centers, said the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and World Health Organization (WHO), and were treated for burning eyes, breathing problems, and other “symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent.” The attack received international condemnation, and was attributed to the Syrian Arab Army, the land force branch of the Syrian Armed Forces.  

On April 14th, a missile strike was carried out in retaliation against the Syrian government by the United States, United Kingdom, and France. A total of 105 cruise missiles were launched by ship and air, and targeted Barzah Research and Development Center, Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Site, and Him Shinshar CW Bunkar. The Syrian government called the airstrike a violation of international law; however, prior to the strike, the UK published its legal position which established that the strike was justified on humanitarian grounds.  

I have very mixed feelings on the recent events going on in Syria. I steadfastly disagree with terror and the acts of ISIL. Regarding Syria’s internal conflict, however, I am unsure—I feel a sense of entitlement even discussing the issue in this matter when civilians are so obviously the ones caught in the crossfire. It is on that human level that I feel the need to intervene and to resolve the conflict at hand.  

However, on a more practical and rational level, I don’t think America should be involved at all. I think Trump’s public criticism and agreement to carry out a missile strike was a huge mistake, and an overstep. Those actions were not representative of the American people, or of America’s role in global affairs and politics. Though it might be seen as cold, I lean towards an isolationist viewpoint. The United States isn’t anyone’s babysitter, and it is neither our right, nor our duty to police the actions of other countries.    

About The Author

Carmel Rafalowsky

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