It is unreasonable to talk about the Syria we once knew; its geography and demographics have been forever changed by the relentless brutality taking place across the country.
The horrors happening now in the cities of Raqqa and Daraa are only met with utter silence – both international and local. There is no good reason that could possibly justify this crime of silence.
For months now, the city of Raqqa has been exposed to a campaign of systematic destruction perpetrated by the International coalition and its local allies who are using a scorched earth policy to take control of the city. All violations against civilians receive little to no condemnation, as they are committed under the pretext of fighting ISIS.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed and wounded during the past few weeks alongside massive destruction to the city’s infrastructure, residential areas, and life-sustaining utilities. All this havoc has occurred before the SDF has even entered the city proper, so what will be the result when that finally occurs? What will this “liberation” looks like? Do those from Raqqa even share the same definition of “liberation “with these forces? There are so many important questions with no answers but the continued silence suffocating the city.
SDF along with their supporters have killed more civilians in Raqqa during their battle to protect civilians and expel terrorism than ISIS has during the last 4 years of war! What irony! What is their definition of terrorism?
Yesterday, a group of activists from Raqqa called for a demonstration in Urfa and Gaziantep – two cities containing the vast majority of Syrians in Turkey – to condemn the indiscriminate shelling on Raqqa city. How strange that only 20 people participated in the demonstrations!
In regard to Daraa, the city has experienced a massive uptick in shelling these last two weeks. The Syrian regime army, along with supporting militias, is taking advantage of the current political climate and fight against ISIS in Raqqa to make advances into Daraa. However, despite increased bombardment, their advancement has yet to be successful.
Liberating Raqqa and expelling ISIS are not the real motivating factors for the ongoing military campaign in the city. This battle is so important because those spearheading it wish only to demarcate a new map of the region completely different from the one existing before the war. New boundaries, entities, regions, or states – it makes no difference. Any changes only serve to establish divisions meant to further fracture Syria and its people.
The purpose of the military campaign in Darra is to eventually occupy an area that will allow access to the Jordanian border, isolate the western parts of Daraa, and give troops direct access to the ISIS controlled border between Jordan and Israel. We all know what the end result of this will be.
We cannot blame Syrians directly for what is happening in these two cities now, but they are responsible for their continued silence. The people of Raqqa and Daraa are beyond disappointed because they feel abandoned by their own people. No one stands with them, and no one supports their plight – not even just with words.