The Syrian civil war has led to a widespread humanitarian crisis, greatly affecting not only nearby countries, but also nearby continents. Syrians are the most displaced population in the world currently – at 11 million.
The Syrian Civil War begun in early 2011 when Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria, started cracking down on peaceful protests across the country. The crackdown included harsh measures such as the use of helicopters and tanks against civilians, as well as the torture and execution of children by Assad’s forces. Opposition groups quickly assembled to oppose this crackdown by Assad’s forces, and due to this the conflict has greatly escalated leading to a fully fledged civil war, and many atrocities have been committed by both sides.
Many human rights groups have levied allegations against Assad’s forces of war crimes. These alleged acts committed by Syrian forces include unlawful killing of children, medical personnel and hospital patients, shelling of civilian areas and denial of food and water to civilians. Human Rights Watch also reported the use of human shields by the Syrian army when advancing upon enemy held territory.
Perhaps the biggest war crime occurred on August 2013 in the Ghouta Chemical Attack. Rockets, that contained the chemical sarin, struck several opposition-held areas, killing an estimated 281-1,729 people. Both the Syrian Government and opposition pinned the blame on each other for the attack however; it was found that the perpetrators of the attack had to have access to the Syrian army’s chemicals as well as the equipment necessary to carry out the attack. Many did not agree with the view that the Syrian forces committed the attack, but instead saw it as a false flag by opposition forces to gain more support internationally.
The Syrian forces are not the only faction to commit war crimes and genocide; the opposition forces are also implicated in many crimes. The crimes mainly range from indiscriminant torture and killing of those just suspected of being a part of the Syrian Forces, and the opposition forces have executed children.
The rise of the terror group ISIS has contributed heavily to the kill count in Syria, especially towards minority groups in the country. ISIS has known to be extremely brutal, especially when compared to the opposition and Syrian forces, with many barbaric forms of mass execution carried out such as crucifixion. Syrian Kurds in particular have been targeted near the Turkey border.
Due to the complexities of the civil unrest in Syria, many massacres have taken place, committed by virtually all the main forces involved. This has led to a huge humanitarian crisis, the biggest of a generation.