In March 2011 following the Arab Spring, the Syrian conflict mutated into a complex civil war. A litany of local, regional and international forces have left a fragmented territory, occupied by different armed factions of opposing ideologies.
The fighting factions
The power of Jihadist groups like the so called ‘Islamic state’ or “Front Fateh al-Sham” (Syrian conquest in Arabic) rose rapidly and confronted the Regime’s army as did the Lebanese Shiite, Iraqi and Iranian militias as well as the US-backed Kurdish forces.
Russia later intervened to avoid the fall of the regime and preserve its interests in Syria, including the Tartus naval base which militarily supports Assad’s regime while the United States supports moderate Syrian rebel groups.
The child victims
The first victims of the war are children. According to the latest estimates from UNICEF , 8.4 million children – that’s over 80% of all Syrian children – are now affected by the conflict. They say that over a third of these children were killed at or on their way to an from school. 60% of violations involved murder or mutilation as a result of explosives in civilian-inhabited areas.
According to the UN office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, out of the entire Syrian population of 24.5 million, 6.6 million have fled to neighbouring Arab nations and Europe.
Since the beginning of the war, staple products have experienced inflation whilst the value of currency is in sharp decline. From March 2011, medical facilities have suffered over 336 attacks which killed 697 medical staff.
Human rights organisations assert that war crimes were committed in Syria by sides, costing the lives of over 280,000 people.The Damascus regime is regularly accused of torturing and bombing civilians. Jihadi groups have also committed shocking abuses such as beheadings and flogging.