Reality of the war in Syria — apocalypse

There’s only one word to describe the images coming out of Syria as the conflict advances: apocalyptic.

Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city and once known as its jewel, sits in rubble, but more tragically so do its people.

“The cradle of civilizations and the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Middle East has become the theater of incredible brutality,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations in addressing the U.N. Security Council Oct. 19 about the deterioration of the situation.

“The corpses under the ruins and the wandering refugees are a clear witness to this cynical contempt and trampling of international humanitarian law,” he said.

U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said to a group of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Oct. 17 said that “between now and December, if we cannot find a solution, Aleppo will not be there anymore.”

Images of children physically hurt or killed in the conflict have gone viral, prompting pleas this fall from Pope Francis, who said in an Oct. 12 general audience that he is “begging, with all my strength” for an immediate cease-fire that would allow the “evacuation of civilians, especially children, who are still trapped under cruel bombardment.”

Almost everyone agrees that something has to be done. Some worry that the repercussions of using force would only shift the violence toward other minority religious groups.

Russia and the United States, two external players in the conflict — one supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, the other mildly supporting the rebels — keep accusing each other of violating cease-fire agreements. Meanwhile, the nation’s leader keeps crushing those who want to see him gone, regardless of how it hurts innocent civilians caught in the middle.

Since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, Washington has been focused on an option that does not include military force even though President Barack Obama in 2013 said: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.” Continue reading


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