September 16, 2019
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Situation in Syria

United Nations Security Council

Topic: Situation in Syria

In 2011, during the Arab Spring protests against the Assad regime in Syria were met with heavy force. Escalating from beatings by local police forces to cutting utilities to entire cities and surrounding them with military forces. These actions led protestors to take up arms against the Assad regime. Nations began providing support to both sides of the conflict within a month. Rebel groups attempted to form coalitions through 2011, however, they were frequently undercut by internal conflicts over the distribution of resources. In 2012 the United Nations hosted talks in Geneva to attempt to bring an end to the fighting. The talks produced a roadmap for negotiations, however, it was unclear as to the role of the Assad regime. In 2013 a chemical weapons attack brought UN inspection teams in and led to a threat of international intervention. No intervention occurred. In 2014 a second UN backed peace conference failed to provide a solution to the ongoing conflict. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) made substantial gains in the region while other rebel groups faltered. 2015 and 2016 saw increased participation in the conflict by Iran, Russia, and Turkey by providing troops, supplies and air support. In 2018 Israel began air strikes against Iranian forces in Syria. The Assad regime, with backing from its allies, has recovered much of its territory, but resistance continues throughout the nation.

The United Nations Security Council passed many resolutions in 2013 to facilitate aid into Syria, supplying over 2.4 million civilians who have come to rely on this aid. The conflict in Syria, with the involvement of many nations, is an international crisis. Refugees fleeing from fighting and economic collapse put their own lives at risk attempting risky ocean crossings and tax the resources of neighboring nations. The conflict and resulting chaos provide ample opportunity for extremist groups to maintain operations and recruit new followers. The continued fighting also poses a risk to the UN aid convoys that cross the Syrian border every day.

The United Nations Security Council must consider how it can better stabilize the situation in Syria. Can aid be better distributed across Syria? Is there the potential to open a new round of talks between the conflicting parties? Can air and artillery strikes be reduced to prevent further civilian casualties? Can outside military aid be reduced, should it be reduced? What mechanisms are available to the Security Council to attempt to solve this situation?

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