13 Sep 2015

Syria: A quick reminder

The engine is grinding away bloodily right now over the border in Syria, a couple of hours from where I write from the comforts of Beirut.

Aleppo…Zabadani…Deraa…Douma…Ghouta…the names become by-words for intensified fighting as Syria ceases to exist in Year Five of the war.

Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) say that at least 400 amputations have been carried out in just one suburb of Damascus under siege and under fire, in the past month.

Most of these limbs, they say, would have been saved had proper access been allowed for medical purposes.

13_syria_r_wAbove: fighters in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus

If that’s how it is when your leg is ripped apart by blast injuries – forget getting food getting into these areas.

MSF reckons 600,000 are besieged by Syrian government forces just in one relatively small district of the Damascus suburbs.

Today the UN calculates that there will be one million more internally displaced in Syria by the end of the year ~ 8,600,000 Syrians.

And now this, a UN official speaking from Damascus:

“WFP (World Food Programme) has zero dollars to provide food to 5 million people inside Syria come November 1st.”

That is the engine, the bloody, terrifying engine driving the displaced across Syria and driving wave upon wave of Syrians to leave.

But how to leave? East, across IS-contaminated desert only to reach Iraq and more IS?


North to Turkey which has already taken around two million and has a very shut and very policed border and a war going on with the Kurds?


South into the equally policed border with Jordan and zombie endless existence in a refugee desert camp with little prospect of anything beyond?



Yes – sort of.

It works. But life here is getting ever more unpleasant as the government wants the Syrians out and aid budgets collapse.

Which leaves the boat to Turkey or plane if you are rich. And for Turkey read Europe.

The pitiless Syrian engine of war grinds on. The waves of the displaced seek refuge. The only realistic escape route is Lebanon and Turkey.

It is getting busier, week by week.

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3 reader comments

  1. Alan says:

    “…The pitiless Syrian engine of war grinds on.”
    Irrespective to all the reports detailing US/NATO/Israeli/Saudi funding and training of terrorists in Syria since 2011, with the well documented aim of regime change, the author believes this to be a Syrian war? Unlike the media blackout of the Yemen war, the evils of interventionist policy are plain to see.

  2. James Alton says:

    It’s tough for some people but whose problem is it? Cavalier European governments have sought to take the moral high ground by making hasty decisions that will eventually harm their societies. Letting hordes of people into your society who have little commonality in many ways is storing up trouble for the future. Numbers and integration is the question, and when the numbers get large then integration is no longer a necessity. This is the obvious experience over the past 50 years. Muslims in particular (but also others from the Indian subcontinent) have such a foothold in Europe, because of their numbers, that they are now a self-sustaining separate community who don’t need to integrate and largely won’t integrate – unless we all become muslims. Bringing in hundreds of thousands, possibly adding up to millions in the end, is great for the migrants since they get immediate relief, but it only exacerbates the harm to the people in whose societies they invade. There are other societies more akin to these economic migrants and refugees, and their journey to these other places would be easier and less dangerous, but why haven’t these kindred societies done more? It’s as though they’re just sitting back looking at panicky European governments trying to uphold principles that were forged in different times, and they must gaze in disbelief that Europe is being Islamised by irresolute moral panic – without formal invasion plans and without violence on their part. The current situation must be very welcome to muslim leaders around the world – a greater purchase on Europe than they could have dreamed of.

  3. Mary says:

    Re news report from Syria this evening

    It was sad to see what is going on there. That young lad Mohammed who is only 13 but is so clever as to make a model of a newly built modern city and wants to be an architect. I truly hope his dream comes through and that Mohammed and other brave children like him in Syria do not have to suffer much more. Mary Co Wexford Ireland

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