In the third year since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, Bashar Assad seems firmly in power, with more than 136,000 dead and millions having fled their homes, there seems no end to the bloodshed in sight
The first echoes of the Arab Spring emerged in Syria on March 6, 2011 in Daraa with the arrest of youth who spray painted, "The people demand the overthrow of the regime." On March 15, 2011, Syrians took to the street in what became known as the Day of Wrath and is considered the start date of the Syrian uprising. "The incident of Hamza Al Khatib, tortured to death in Daraa, was the sorrowful beginning point of freedom and honorable struggle," said Ahmed Jakal, member of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and Vice President of the Syrian Turkmen Movement. "On that day, the whole world was standing behind the civil demonstration that started peacefully and continued as such for six months. Syria is a mosaic of beliefs and ethnicities, with socialists, Arabs, Turkmens, Kurds and Assyrians and has a correspondent multi-religious nature."
Jakal said the uprising was inevitable as the history of state violence against its people was long and repressive. "The country could put up with the pressure of the dictatorship for only 50 years," he said. "In the course of three years, massive slaughters of women or children occurred.
Massacres by the regime that should be always remembered are the Darayya and Ghouta chemical attacks in which 1,461 people were poisoned, many of which were women and children."
He cited other examples of slaughters in Tartus, the Bayır Bucak Turkmen Mountains, Manbij in Aleppo and Jarabulus, Homs, Hama Akrab and Hawle and the Turkmen village of Zara in the western Homs.
Jakal stated that all Syrian people paid the price. "The price is the gravest in the modern era with 150,000 martyrs and nine million refugees," he said. "Their conditions are extremely miserable. Imagine a civil community that is attacked with banned weapons, which is regarded a war crime. Many kinds of weapons, including Scuds, MiGs and Sokhois, barrel bombs, phosphorus bombs, and Napalm were used."
He accused the international community of silence despite the obvious abuse of power. "Let's imagine that Russia and China rejected any decisions against the Syrian regime, including humanitarian decisions in the United Nations Security Council," he postulated. "Local powers and Western countries made decisions for their own interests. The promised support has not been given yet, people are still dying. The aim is to ensure they are dead by blockading neighborhoods with a new battle technique."
He also commented on the Geneva II negotiations that started last month. "The Geneva process may have created a hope for peaceful solution, however, it was interrupted with the regime obstructing the process," said Jakal. "The hopes were out but they did not yield results."
He expects the conflict continuing as a civil war for the foreseeable future but believes a solution could be found if revolutionary and international actors pushed hard enough. Even so, he expects the process to drag on for months with many more casualties.
He expressed gratification toward the Turkish government for being one of the only international actors to really push for a solution. "I appreciate the Turkish government and especially Ahmet Davutoğlu because of their care for the Syrians and hospitality known by the whole world," he said. "We are grateful for their support for the educational rights of our children and for hosting the Syrian National Coalition and the Provisional Government." He ended on a note of hope. "I wish for a modern Syria where peace and democracy prevails," concluded Jakal.
Thousands of people in Syria were affected by the war. Turkey's Representative to the U.N. Children's Rights and Emergency Relief Organization (UNICEF) Ayman Abulaban said nearly six million children affected by the Syrian civil war are going through a substantial trauma. He also added that wars affect women and children most and the adverse effects of the trauma lasts a lifetime.
UNICEF said the child casualty rates were the highest recorded in any recent conflict in the region. At least 10,000 children have been killed in the Syrian war, but the organization noted that the real number is probably higher.
The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that more than 136,000 have been killed since a revolt against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011.
Meanwhile, about 3.5 million people have fled Syria, with nearly a million displaced to Turkey.