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August 21, 2017 10:56 am

Syria Proves the World’s Moral Bankruptcy

avatar by Alon Ben-Meir

Opinion

Destruction in Aleppo. Photo: Screenshot.

Much has been written about Syria’s civil war — but sadly the mounting death and destruction there has long since become mere statistics. The international community has grown comfortably numb to the horror, and the external players — especially Russia and Iran — have been nurturing their vested interests by prolonging the deadly conflict.

What happened to the sentiment of “never again” that was universally embraced in the wake of World War II to prevent calamities such as this from occurring? How low will the moral bar of the international community sink before we awake to the unfolding catastrophe in Syria?

How many more men, women and children must die, and how much ruin can the country further sustain before we act to stop this madness that seems to infect every party involved?

“Crimes against humanity” has become a mere slogan. The international community has assumed no responsibility, and discharged their moral culpability while the blood of innocent Syrian people continues to stream, marring what’s left of our collective conscience.

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According to World Vision International, “millions of children under five are now more vulnerable than ever to physical trauma, injuries, communicable diseases, and malnutrition.” At least 8.2 million children inside Syria and across the region are now experiencing displacement, shattered health systems and food insecurity, while more than 2 million are growing up as refugees.

Nearly three million children under the age of five have grown up knowing only war. One in four children is at risk of severe mental health disorders, with potentially lifelong consequences. Attacks on hospitals have left only 43 percent of Syrian hospitals functional, while half of Syria’s doctors have fled the country.

As many as 80,000 children in Syria are believed to be infected with polio, which was eradicated in Syria in 1995. During the five-year span of the conflict, life expectancy at birth has dropped by 15 years. Worst of all, tens of thousands of children have been killed.

And if this is not enough, just think about the other damage that has been inflicted on these children, who have been deprived of basic education — with one in every four schools damaged, destroyed or used for displaced people.

These are not mere numbers. We are talking about a catastrophe in the making for all to see. Two generations have been lost; never again will they know normalcy but only anguish and uncertainty, while the world watches with complacency.

No one is talking about a solution that could bring this calamitous war to a conclusion. The UN Security Council has been inept at best. Russia’s veto-wielding power has and continues to prevent the passage of any solution. President Putin will continue to support Assad and spare no effort to maintain Russia’s presence in Syria as a springboard to enhance his regional influence.

Iran, which is fighting for regional hegemony, will continue to support Assad’s regime until the last Syrian soldier. The mullahs do so in the “name of the almighty,” which gives them the “moral authority” to ravage the country for as long as it takes to secure their hegemonic ambitions from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.

Turkey’s President Erdogan, who wishes to spread his wings throughout the Middle East, is fighting to secure a foothold in Syria. He is indiscriminately bombing the Syrian Kurdish fortifications to prevent them from establishing their own autonomous rule, which can only further destabilize Syria.

The US was the only country that could have spared this horror. Sadly, Obama sat on his hands, allowing Russia and Iran to continue to pillage the country and consolidate their gains. President Trump, with all his boasting, has yet to lift a finger other than ineffectively bombing a Syrian air field in response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons. This was done to show his bravado, while he shamefully stopped the training of anti-Assad rebels and made them vulnerable to the merciless attacks by Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces.

Saudi Arabia continues to provide money and materials to the rebels, but only to serve its interests as it continues to wage a proxy war against Shiite Iran for regional dominance, making Syria the battleground between the two sides — while the Syrian people pay the price.

Leave it, of course, to Assad to ravage the country in order to remain in power. Many dictators have treated their people with ruthlessness and cruelty to maintain their grip on power, but no despot in recent years has inflicted so much devastation, desolation and despair on his own country like Assad has.

Take a look at the monstrosity that Assad has committed. Nearly 500,000 Syrians have been killed since the beginning of the civil war in 2011. An estimated 13.5 million people, including more than 6 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection; 6.3 million people are internally displaced and nearly five million Syrians have fled the country and become refugees.

In addition to the staggering human toll, the cost of the conflict in Syria to date is estimated at $275 billion, and there is no end in sight to the astronomical losses. One would think that at a minimum the international community would respond to the human crisis by providing the necessary funding, but unsurprisingly — in this area too — the international community has fallen appallingly short.

The dismal failures of all the governments and institutions to help Syria leaves us nowhere but to appeal to the masses. People of conscience, regardless of their country of residence and irrespective of their religious, cultural or ideological orientation, must rise now and make their voices heard.

Speak up for the voiceless Syrian people, who have been betrayed by corrupt head of states and condemned to dispersion, destruction and death. End the world’s moral bankruptcy.

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