Syrië

Gisteren was de zevende verjaardag van de ‘dag van woede,’ die het begin vormde van de Syrische burgeroorlog. Toen 15 kinderen werden gearresteerd in de provinciestad Daraa voor graffiti volgde een vreedzame demonstratie die hard werd onderdrukt door president Assad en leidde tot represailles. Na zeven jaar burgeroorlog gevoed door Rusland, de VS, Iran, Israel, Turkije zijn er 511.000 mensen gedood, en 11 miljoen mensen uit hun huis verjaagd. Daarmee is de oorlog langer en bloediger dan die in voormalig Joegoslavië in de jaren ’90, zonder zicht op een einde. Nuttige opfrisser van Bloomberg. Today marks the seventh anniversary of  “day of rage” protests that sparked the war in Syria. Given the carnage since, it’s hard to recall that it all began with 15 children, arrested in a provincial city for anti-government graffiti.

The protests over those arrests in Daraa, near the border with Jordan were peaceful, but President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal response tipped the country into violence. With Iranian, Russian, Turkish and U.S. troops now on the ground, 11 million people displaced and an estimated 511,000 dead, there’s little sign of an end to a conflict already longer and bloodier than the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

Syria’s conflict has transformed the geopolitics of the Middle East, and the wave of refugees it generated has sent shockwaves through Europe. In the first months of this year, U.S. jets killed scores of Russian contract soldiers, Israel and Iran clashed directly, and NATO member Turkey threatened to move its troops against an area defended by U.S. special forces.

Allegations that Assad is still using chemical weapons have also raised the possibility of further U.S. airstrikes against the regime. With the State Department to be led by Mike Pompeo, a foreign policy hawk who last year argued for resolute action to secure U.S. interests in Syria, the war could become still more complex.