(VOVworld) – March 15 marks 5 years of Syria’s civil war, which has caused huge losses to Syria. Opportunities for lasting peace have been missed.
The United Nations estimates that approximately 27,000 have been killed and more than 1 million people wounded in Syria’s civil war. The conflict has forced half of Syria’s population (23 million people) to flee their homes. The UN Refugee Agency said 4.8 million Syrians fled to other countries, creating the worst ever migrant crisis in Europe. Most of the Syrians at home are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Many cities have been destroyed, including Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and trade center. Homs, Syria’s third biggest city, is almost deserted. Mosques with unique architectures are under debris and almost all of Syria’s UNESCO-recognized world heritages have been destroyed or seriously damaged.
Syria’s economy has been ravaged. Economists predict inflation in Syria will reach more than 27% by the end of March.
Many countries affected
Syria’s civil war has changed the world. Syrian migrants have affected the economies of neighboring countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. The World Bank says 630,000 Syrian refugees will cause Jordan a loss of 2.5 billion USD per year. Turkey said it is unable to take care of Syrian migrants. Syria’s civil war has increased ethnic conflicts in Turkey.
After establishing its headquarters in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State has expanded to Iraq and is controlling large areas in Middle East countries.
Peace talks in Geneva in 2012 and 2014 failed to determine President Bashar al-Assad’s future. A 3rd round of peace talks began on March 14. The UN’s Syria Envoy Staffan de Mistura warns that if talks fail again there won’t be an alternative solution to Syria’s conflict. A ceasefire began on February 27.
Agreeing on President Assad’s future remains the biggest obstacle to any breakthrough. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has said that even the UN’s Syria Envoy has no right to discuss Syria’s future presidential elections. That right is reserved for Syrians. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) representing the Syrian opposition said the talks should focus on the establishment of a transitional government with President Assad’s resignation being a precondition. This 3rd round of peace talks is unlikely to succeed as there are no signs of compromise or concession between the Syrian government and the opposition parties.