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It is time that someone stood up for Syria

It is time that someone stood up for Syria

As the conflict in Syria approaches its third anniversary, an end to the fighting seems highly unlikely, especially given the ineffectual nature of the United Nations peace talks in Geneva these past two months.

While the U.N. passed a resolution Feb. 22 calling for both sides to allow humanitarian aid, a lack of any consequences for those who fail to do so has allowed the bloodshed to continue.

Peace through diplomacy is obviously the ideal in any situation, but diplomacy has thus far failed the Syrian people. If the international community truly wishes to make an effective change in Syria, then the time for decisive action is now.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad must be removed.

The conflict in Syria is not a matter of U.S. or U.N. interests in the Middle East as has been the case in the past. What faces the U.S. and the international community as a whole right now is one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern times.

The U.N. stopped tracking deaths in January after stating it could no longer accurately verify claims of casualties. At that time, the toll stood at 100,000 deaths with more than 6 million people displaced abroad and in the country, according to National Public Radio.

The persecution and fleeing of doctors who treat the wounded has led activists to fear a “brain drain” in the country. A lack of accessible health care has also caused secondary casualties in the country that possibly eclipse the casualties of war.

While both government forces and rebels alike are guilty of war crimes, stopping the indiscriminate killing carried out by regime of al-Assad should be the top priority.

The current geopolitical situation of the Syrian conflict has created many different alliances and divisions. As the situation stands, Russia and Iran pose the greatest challenge in removing al-Assad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent actions in Ukraine are especially concerning, but by standing up for the sovereignty of the Syrian people, the U.S. can assert that tyranny and oppression will not be tolerated.

Iran has also financed the Syrian army with billions of dollars in the past, in addition to providing strategic military training, according to a report by Reuters. If Iran truly wishes to participate in a healthy manner with the international community, intervention in Syria can demonstrate that they must do so according to the stipulations set forth to them.

An intervention in Syria will not be without consequence in some form, yet it need not be a waste of life for the U.S. or NATO, either. Methods do exist to put more pressure on al-Assad, as was evidenced in Libya in 2011.

Nonetheless, if the U.S. wishes to view itself as a bastion of freedom and peace in the world, then it is its humanitarian duty to ensure that al-Assad’s regime is stopped.

Chris Deverell, a sophomore journalism major from Little Silver, N.J., is an intern videographer. 

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