Legitimacy & Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

BY: Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi
December 31, 2012

Amidst world-wide condemnation of Syrian President Assadís brutal and barbarous policy of mass killings of innocent people and repeated revolts by senior military officers joining the rebels who are fighting the fierce fight to finish battle with the Government forces, the Assad regime is no mood to succumb to popular political pressure and consider their genuine demands of long pending political and economic reforms which the President had himself promised two years ago during the over sweeping wave of Arab Spring passing through the country. Instead, there is horrible bombing continuing unabated as a latest video published by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed about government fierce shelling in the northern Syrian province of Raqqa, killing about 20 people including at least eight children and also displaying rows of the blood-stained bodies laid out on blankets. The sound of crying relatives could be heard in the background. It was unclear when the attack in the village of Al Qahtania happened. In such a grim scenario of war-like situation or the escalating civil war for the last two years, the people at large in Syria have no option but to pass through an inevitable humanitarian crisis covering an estimated four million people- around 20 per cent of the population- losing their food and homes to take refuge in make-shift camps in neighbouring countries and almost three million people stand displaced in the country itself. In fact the prevailing conditions have grown increasingly desperate as the Syrian winter sets in, and many families are living in tents on cold dwellings without adequate clothing. It has severely hampered the on-going relief operations as the United Nations reported about reducing food-ratios being offered to 1.5 milllion Syrians due to ever rising extremely high demands against dwindling resources.

As the UN relief official John Ging, who is the director of operations at the UNís office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, aptly commented: "The humanitarian community in Syria is struggling,"; and "People are losing hope because they just see more violence on the horizon, they just see deterioration." He further said: "It's becoming more and more difficult just to do the very basic things to help people to survive,". The same view is held by the UN news service, IRIN: "As the Syrian conflict drags on, shelters are filling up, support systems are breaking down, savings are running out and violence is engulfing an increasing number of communities,". "As a result refuge is increasingly hard to find for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence, some of them zigzagging across the country in search of safety -- often in vain." The crisis of Syria's health-care system, which previously was one of the most effective in the region, is especially acute. According to the World Health Organization, the fighting has partly or completely destroyed half of the country's 88 public hospitals and 186 of its 1,919 local health care centers. Particularly devastating has been the attack on Syria's pharmaceutical industry, which previously met 90 percent of the country's need for drugs. The industry is now down to barely he Western-backed rebels for attack and looting. "Other factories are struggling to import raw materials due to sanctions imposed on Syria by Western countries," IRIN reports.

The British daily†Guardian†on Thursday, gone by, carried a report from a correspondent in Aleppo detailing the extent of the looting, which it said "has become a way of life" for the so-called rebels. "'Spoils' have now become the main drive for many units as battalion commanders seek to increase their power." Basic medicines have become unavailable, and the price for drugs that are available has risen so steeply as to place them out of the reach of most of the population. The result is that people are dying from chronic conditions that could otherwise be treated. Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO's representative in Syria, reported that insulin is no longer available in many areas and that insulin pens that public health centers previously provided to some 40,000 diabetic children have run out, forcing them to resort to more painful and difficult methods. Meanwhile, as a result of the fighting, access to medical care has been sharply curtailed. "Many doctors have left the country," a recent WHO report stated, noting that "over 50 percent of the medical doctors have left Homs." "In Damascus, Aleppo and Homs at least 70 percent of the health providers live in rural areas and therefore frequently cannot access their work place due to irregular public transportation, blocked and unsafe roads with an increasing number of military check points, snipers and the unpredictable occurrence of street fights," the report added.

Under this backdrop, Syria is, indeed, rapidly moving towards a full-fledged civil war, thereby endangering not only the precious lives and belongings of its people and also the peace and security of the country but also that of the entire middle-east region. The so-emerged popular disgust and aversions with Assadís regime has already shattered their faith with the Assadí regime, thereby raising the serious issue of legitimacy-crisis as well as that of humanitarian-crisis in the country.

Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi
Associate Professor, Political Science,
M. D. P. G. College, PRATAPGARH (UP),
Narsinghbhanpur, Naya Mal Godam Road,
Distt- PRATAPGARH (UP), Pin-230001,

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