Experts predict a violent winter in Syria−perhaps the bloodiest since the revolution began in 2011. Catherine Bronson, the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Beloit College, says the outcome of the conflict is grim.
The revolution, she explains, is comprised of diverse groups with disparate interests all vying for attention and power. Thus, even if they succeed in their common goal of toppling the regime and ousting President Bashar al-Assad, many predict that the country will continue to plunge further into sectarian war.
The Syrian conflict began in March 2011 when citizens took to the streets to protest the torture of students who wrote anti-government slogans against al-Assad and his Ba’ath party. The violence escalated, and by summer of 2012 the country had plunged into a massive civil war. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the total number of civilians and non-civilians killed has exceeded 31,000 and includes many women and children.
Bronson says the “world community” has so far been reluctant to intervene because of the repercussions that could be felt around the globe, but adds that citizens can do something to help.
“It’s a humanitarian crisis,” says Bronson, who lived in Syria for three years and frequently returns for research. “The burden is on each enlightened citizen to really care beyond their own small, myopic view of the world because when we become small-minded and things like this go on, it’s basically the raping of the human condition.”