Refugee Struggle by// Sophie Owens

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I’m sitting in my grandma’s silver car, age 10, and listening to her speak about atomic bomb drills. She goes into great description about how she would be sitting in class learning about multiplication, just as I had that day, before the teacher would yell, “DROP!” She says she remembers feeling nothing but panic and anxiety once she would hit the the floor, crawl under the metal desk, and stay rolled in a ball. She would say small prayers, knowing full well a bomb could hit. She wakes herself from the memory, turns to me and says, “We never knew if it was a drill or not… Nine times out of ten it wasn’t.”

The Cold War lasted from 1947-1991. This war was the aftermath of World War II. It was a war instigated by the state of political and military tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Although there was no large scale fighting, there was still the fear of death and failure to maintain status. With everything that is happening in the Middle East today and tensions building up, many fear what we had left to history may come back into the future.

The United States is in the middle of many quarrels. Many Eastern countries are threatening to bomb our beloved country. There is a chance that we may have to go through another world war. As there are already so many countries invested into the Syrian conflict and the others going on in the middle east right now. Times are getting tougher as the world is getting darker.

As high school students, it is important to be aware of global matters; we will be the future of our country. After many hours of research, I pared down what I would consider the most important points for young people to be aware of.

The year 2000, Assad became president after his father, who served 30 years, died.

After the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia against the rulers (known as “2011 Arab Spring”), Syrians began to protest their government as well. Assad and his followers violently cracked down on the few rebels violently and showed how they planned on maintaining their power and doing so unlike any leaders elsewhere.

When did the war start?

March 15, 2011

Rogues from the Syrian army formed the first rebel groups, “The Free Syrian Army”, which encouraged the tensions over there.

What is the conflict?

It is an ongoing multi-sided armored conflict in Syria where international intervention have taken place. The ongoing conflict in Syria is widely described as a series of overlapping proxy wars between the regional and world powers. primarily between the U.S. and Russia as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

What other people are involved?

Russia is conducting its own bombing against ISIS and other rebel groups, in coordination with ground operations by Iranian and Hezbollah fighters.

The predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main armed service of the Kurdish Supreme Committee, the government of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), have received military and logistic support from Iraqi Kurdistan and air support by U.S., Canada, British and French Air Forces.

The Turkish government has been a (heavyweight nasty) critic of Mr. Assad since the start of the uprising in Syria. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said it was impossible for Syrians to “accept a dictator who has led to the deaths of up to 350,000 people”. Turkey is a key supporter of the Syrian opposition, along with the U.S., and has faced the burden of hosting almost two million refugees in the past few years. Yet recently, it’s policy of allowing rebel fighters, arms shipments and refugees to pass through its territory has been exploited by foreign jihadists wanting to join IS (explanation). Turkey agreed to allow the US-led coalition against IS to use its air bases for strikes on Syria after an IS bomb attack in July 2015; they have though been critical of coalition support for the Syrian Kurdish Popular

Protection Units (YPG) – an affiliate of the banned Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) deemed a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union, and the US.

Iran’s involvement for helping the Syrian government is for regional reasons. Iran sees the survival of the Syrian government as being crucial to its interest. Its only consistent ally since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Syria provides a crucial thoroughfare to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Iranian leaders have cited Syria as being Iran’s “35th province”, with President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite minority-led government being a crucial buffer against the influence of Saudi Arabia and the US.The Syrian city of Zabadani is vitally important to Assad and to Iran because, at least as late as June 2011, the city served as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s logistical hub for supplying Hezbollah.

Prior to the Syrian war, Iran had between 2,000 and 3,000 IRGC officers stationed in Syria, helping to train local troops and managing supply routes of arms and money to neighboring Lebanon.

The U.S. is involved for reasons for justice. The US has accused Syrian President Assad of responsibility for widespread atrocities and says he must go. But it agrees on the need for a negotiated settlement to end the war and the formation of a transitional administration. The US supports Syria’s main opposition alliance, the National Coalition, and provides limited military assistance to “moderate” rebels.

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Refugee Struggle by// Sophie Owens