Image: Syria (orthographic projection) - L'Américain © Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
- Despite the terrible situation in Libya Syria has become far worse.
- President Assad has been in control of Syria since 2000.
- He took charge when his father died.
- His father had been in control since 1970.
- Living conditions in Syria were poor and there was little freedom.
- Things were better for some religious groups and worse for others.
- The Assad government and supporters mostly follow Shia Islam.
- The Opposition Forces mostly follow Sunni Islam.
- Most Kurds follow Sunni Islam but some follow Shia Islam. The Kurdish language and culture is more important than religion.
- The al-Nusra Front which is part of the al-Qaeda international terror group.
- So called Islamic State/ISIL began as a Jihadist group in Afghanistan.
- It was loyal to al-Qaeda.
- It joined the insurgency in Iraq in 2003 becoming responsible for many atrocities.
- It has now spread into Syria.
Image: Syrian Civil War - Spesh531 © Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license
- Since 2011 Syria has suffered appalling conditions and many atrocities as part of the conflict including use of chemical weapons, murder, torture and rape.
- This made worse by the way in which other countries support different sides.
- The Assad Government is supported by Russia, Iraq and Iran.
- The Syrian National Coalition is supported by 17 countries including the UK, USA, France and most of the Arab League countries.
- Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar however openly support the al-Nusra Front.
- In Syria most power, water and food supplies have been lost.
Image: Syrian refugees in the Middle East map - Furfur © Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license
- On top of this:
- Over 7.6 million people have been internally displaced within Syria.
- Over 5 million more have been displaced into neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait & Egypt.
- Only a few hundred thousand have actually attempted to reach Europe as refugees which considering the scale of the horror is quite a small number.
So Called Islamic State/ISIL
Most people use ‘so called’ as it would not be acceptable to give this group the level of respect due to a state.
- Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
- Islamic State of Syria (ISIS)
- IS (Islamic State)
- Began in 1999 in Afghanistan.
- In 2003 it joined the Iraq insurgency against the new Iraq government and the coalition.
- By 2015 it has control:
- Of large areas across the border of Iraq and Syria.
- It controls parts of Libya
- Sinai (Egypt)
- Parts of Nigeria (through Boko Haram).
- Many terrorist groups have joined (mostly switching from al-Qaeda) as such they are spreading quickly.
This group believes in the murder the every human being that does not accept their version of Islam.
- People have joined so called ISIL from around the globe including Wales. Despite terrible things like:
- Mass murder
- In 2014 over 100 foreign recruits were reported to have been beheaded by ISIL for trying to leave the city of Raqqa.
- Use of social media allows radicalisation within our homes.
- The group has an army trying to recruit online;
- Everyone must look after their school friends;
- If they see signs of support for this organisation they should be helped by:
- Speaking to teachers
- Family members
- Community leaders.
Many recruits try to leave after joining; some escape but those captured such as the 100+ in Raqqa are beheaded.
Image: Afghanistan (orthographic projection) - Shahid Parvez © GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2
- Afghanistan is bordered by:
- In 1978 there was a communist revolution in Afghanistan.
- Extremist fighters went to Afghanistan to fight a ‘holy war’ or Jihad against the Afghanistan communist government.
- In 1979 the communist Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and a war killing over 1,000,000 people followed.
- Tens of thousands of fighters from around the Islamic went to join the ‘Jihad’.
- One such wealthy fighter was Osama Bin Laden from Saudi Arabia who set up al-Qaeda.
- He also helped start what is now called so called Islamic State/ISIL.
Image: Osama bin Laden - Hamid Mir © Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
- In 1989 Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan and by 1992 the communists were defeated.
- There then followed a further civil war between different groups of Jihadist fighters in which another 400,000 were killed.
- By 1996 one group the Taliban won and ruled based on their own strict interpretation of Islam.
- Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda movement continued to operate alongside the Taliban.
- In 2001 al-Qaeda carried out the September 11th attacks on the USA.
Image: National Park Service 9-11 Statue of Liberty and WTC fire - National Park Service © Public Domain
Image: September 17 2001 - U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Eric J. Tilford © Public Domain
- This led to the ‘War on Terror’ and the invasion of Afghanistan by a coalition including the UK and USA.
British Memorial Wall Afghanistan
Image: Camp Bastion Memorial Wall Vigil MOD - Cpl Daniel Wiepen/MOD © OGL (Open Government License)
- Despite a quick victory in 2001 peace has been difficult.
- Two RAF deaths in October 2015 bring the British Military losses to 456 in the conflict.
- There have been many Welsh losses; even in 2015.
- The Taliban continues to fight against Afghan government forces.
- So called Islamic State/ISIL is now controlling areas as it recruits members of the Taliban.