March marks the fourth anniversary of the uprising against Syrian president Bashar Al Assad which originated the ongoing war. According to the UN, since then, at least 220,000 people have died, 4 million people have fled to neighbouring countries and are refugees and there are 7.6 million internal displaced people. In addition, 12.2 million people continue to need life saving aid. And the fighting continues, every day more complicated with multiple sides and no end in sight.
What began with protests to topple Assad and evolved in an armed conflict between rebel groups with the sympathy of the western powers and the Syrian Army, is now an explosive war in which the most extremist group, the Islamic State or ISIL, has taken control of almost half the territory of the country in a record time. The other half is in hands of Al Assad’s Government and there are smaller pouches in hands of the Kurds and various rebel groups. So, now the only ones who can put up a serious fight against the ISIL are precisely the troops of Al Assad reviled by the West. In the middle of all this, as ever, are the civilians suffering, trapped in a hopeless war. If some strategists saw in the conflict a chance to topple Al Assad and bring a democracy to Syria, these four years have proven they were wrong. A prolonged chaos to the country only has brought the worst case scenario imaginable.