THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF THE CIVIL WAR IN SYRIA
The Syrian Civil War is a continuing armed conflict facilitated by various domestic parties as well as international groups that occurs in Syria. The civil strife emanated out of the Arab Spring disputes in 2011 and worsened to military conflict after the administration oppressed protestors demanding his expulsion. The two main actors in the war are the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Syrian Government, a disjointed coalition of Syrian Arab rebel groups, jihadist groups, and ISIL. All the parties enjoy considerable support from overseas actors, affirming the suspicions that the issue is a proxy war fought by the regional and global major powers. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the negative effects of the Syrian Civil War on economic and social sectors of the region.
The Syrian Civil War has had a massive effect on the overall Syrian population. It is relatively difficult to confirm the accurate death toll arising from direct warfare. However, on an average day in the Syrian War, it was estimated that over 397 Syrians died in conflict-related activities. In general, the overall casualties are approximately 50,000 people (Erlich 2014, 98). Given that Syria has a sparse population, such a massive death toll is a significant concern for the nation. The surviving Syrians exist in a state of constant terror and danger. Consequently, many Syrians have become refugees in neighboring countries in the pursuit of safety. According to U.N. reports, over 400,000 refugees have been recorded in their refugee program (Gilsinan 2015, 54). This figure is probably higher since a substantial percentage of refugees are not officially registered with the organization.
The Syrian Civil War also had a negative effect on the infrastructure as well as the country’s natural and built assets. The war approaches of both sides entail taking control of vital strategic locations. Urban areas especially Damascus were attacked by ceaseless bombing and combats. Entire districts, and, in some instances, cities were completely wiped out. This is equivalent to ensuring that thousands of Syrians were rendered homeless and without any possessions for survival in the war times. In the event that a terrible event occurs in a country, the citizens are displaced and their properties lost. However, less significant effects include the indirect economic effects of asset destruction. Certainly, the Syrian people are distracted from being productive economically. However, even if this was not the case, it is relatively difficult for public or private investment within Syrian in the absence of infrastructure. Social; instability has the effect of discouraging economic growth by instilling investor fear. In the face of a devastated economy and destroyed resources, Syrians have been forced to live in poverty even after the war quelled. Syrians are facing over a decades’ worth of economic and infrastructure reforms before they can restore their nation to its initial condition.
The Syrian Civil War has had an equally devastating effect on the regional trade within the Middle East. The disastrous civil war in Syria is questionably a major one. The economic impact of the war traversed beyond the nation’s boundaries and affected the adjacent countries. Specifically, trade is a major channel through which the impacts of the civil war are transferred to neighboring states (Erlich 2014, 25). The war has obliterated the nation’s infrastructure, restricted students from going to school, shut down processing plants, and discouraged investments and trade agreements. The economic impacts of the conflicts have mainly affected Lebanon, the country most cooperative with Syria in terms of economic activities (Kanj, & Sharara 2014, 39). Syria contributes towards the biggest part of Lebanon’s borders and therefore, it is natural to assume that any activities affecting Syria’s peace will reach Lebanon (Gilsinan 2015, 78). Trade is a central element in the economic recovery process and therefore, by restricting trade, the war had the negative effect of stifling any hopes of economic rebound. The erosion of trade ties with various other countries is a major negative aspect since, through trade, Syria would have enjoyed other benefits such as loans as well as assistance from international organizations.
In terms of socio-political impact, the Syrian Civil War has created internal displacements within its borders leading to a worrying case of refugees. The mounting security lapses have also been an outcome. After the outburst of conflicts in 2011, a large number of Syrian refugees relocated into Lebanon placing massive economic pressure on the nation. This large influx of refugees has reached a dangerous level since it represents slightly over 10% of the overall Lebanese population. These population changes have created mounting tensions with the Lebanese locals (Williams 1981, 78). Away from home, Syrian refugees have been the target of armed attacks and abductions. In the same way, Syrian refugees have been blamed by the government for the sharp increase in criminal incidents. Additionally, Lebanon has been engulfed in the conflict between refugee sympathizers and opponents (Shekelestein 2015, 56).
At the global level, the Syrian Civil War has had a negative effect on the state’s reputation. The war had a corrosive effect in terms of disrupting its relations with both the East and the West. Differences on the way to address the conflicts in Syria have created outstandingly bitter criticisms and allegations on both parties (Fakih, & Marrouch 2015, 45). Therefore, this conflict interferes with fluid cooperation at the international level particularly on diverse issues in the imminent years. These differences pitted the humanitarian stand made by the United States against the authoritarian communist states such as China and Russia (Erlich 2014, 66). The argument between these two factions generated addition conflict over the use of veto powers at the expense of human rights violations. Consequently, these disagreements resulted in further degeneration of policy relations between Russia and the United States (Gilsinan 2015, 21). Policy concerning the Syrian civil war has reveled and worsened essential disparities between the Western world and the East about many other issues including Middle East, as well as the purpose of interventions in the international affairs. Therefore, it would be accurate to conclude that the Syrian War exacerbated the ideological conflict between the East and West.
A key negative effect of the Syrian Civil War is the violation of human rights. In this respect, the violations were perpetrated by the state and rebels. However, most of the criminal activity was carried out by the Syrian government. The report by various channels indicated that over eight deliberate mass killings happened between 2012 and 2013 with the major perpetrator being exposed as the Syrian government and the opposition to a lesser extent. As of 2013, roughly 6,000 women were raped from when the Syrian War started (Phillippe, & Merton 1936, 18). It is quite possible that these figures are higher since most rape cases are officially reported. Syrian government officers were also responsible for orchestrating systematic killings of approximately 11,000 prisoners. The majority of victims were youth most of whom were withered, bloodstained and showed indications of torture. Some prisoners lacked organs, others were either partially strangulated or traumatized (Gilsinan 2015, 45). In 2014, the Syrian government was still perpetrating gross human rights violations when they torched seven rebel districts in Hama and Damascus, a region that covers over 5,300 square meters. Citizens narrated of bombs and earthmovers being used to clear residential areas.
A minor but equally significant effect of the Syrian Civil War is the drop in general living standards across the nation. This was manifested through increased crime rates and the outbreak of contagious and deadly diseases. With the spread of conflict across the nation, many cities were overrun in crime since conflict caused a breakdown in the state security machinery. By this time, most of the police stations were not functioning. The rates of petty theft escalated, as thieves looted buildings and shops (Erlich 2014, 12). Kidnappings and other crimes including extortion also prevailed. Rebel fighters took the opportunity to replenish their camps with the equipment and supplies for the war such as vehicles and food.
The Syria Civil War was so significant that its effects are still evident currently and it is likely that they will still be present in the future. This is regardless of the side that won or lost. The massive presence of refugees has already placed a significant financial burden on the state. Furthermore, the refugee situation has also influenced discussions with other states concerning security on Syria’s border. Political and religious tensions worsened by the war have remained elevated despite the war being over (Erlich 2014, 34). It is most likely that the conflict will influence political and international choices now and in the future. Most of the consequences are expected to be negative. Already, Lebanon and Iraq have already hinted at the displeasure with the current state of affairs.
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Phillippe, J. L., & Merton, J. H. (1936). The Wars of Frederick II against the Ibelins in Syria and Cyprus. New York: Columbia University Press.
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