Within the span of a few days, Israel has launched a number of missile strikes in different parts of Syria. According to the Syrian military, “missiles flying over the Golan Heights targeted several locations and air defenses downed several missiles.” Live coverage showed a multi-storey building on fire. Syria air defense responded to Israeli aerial aggression in the Southern region of the country. 

In the past year, there has been an increase in the Syrian targets hit by Israel where a large number of Iranian-backed militias have been able to regain control of the territory lost by Syrian President Bashar al Assad to insurgents in a decade-old civil war. The recent strikes hit the Kisswa region in the southern outskirts of Damascus. The area is used as a military base by the pro-Iranian, Lebanese Hezbollah. The bases hit by Israeli strikes in recent weeks are believed to have a strong presence of Iranian-backed militias. The strikes are believed to be a part of an anti-Iran policy to undermine Iran’s military power without triggering large-scale hostilities.

Israeli air raids increased in intensity this week. On Wednesday, Israeli air force carried out more than 18 attacks against multiple targets in an area stretching from the eastern town of Deir Az Zor to the al-Bukamal desert at the Syrian-Iraqi border. The recent raids have claimed to be the deadliest since 2018. At least 10 soldiers and 47 fighters have been killed. It is reported to be the second wave of Israeli air raids in less than a week.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 15 people were killed and injured in the Israeli strike in southern Syria. The most tragic outcome of the Syrian conflict is that Syrian citizens have become a pawn in a bloody conflict between Syrian authorities, its allies, and the varying external actors involved in the conflict for personal gains. 

The Syrian conflict is one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world with the conflict still ravaging the country. Approximately, 5.6 million Syrians are refugees, and another 6.2 million are displaced within the country. Nearly 12 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance. In recent years, there have been increased calls by humanitarian and international organizations to address the conflict and provide immediate relief to the Syrian people. As a result of this, we have seen a number of petitions being circulated across social media to help the Syrians. Online petitions were rather rampant in the past year due to increased online presence because of COVID restrictions. Many however have argued that the petitions are rather performative than anything else. The aid almost never reaches the people who most need it. 

Certain threads that aim to “raise awareness about Syria” have received significant numbers of retweets. It has been contended, however, that such threads are feeding into Assadist propaganda more than anything else. 

Social media has allowed the rampant flow of information from varying sources, which is both a blessing and a curse. When it comes to Syria, there is little knowledge about the conflict due to a lack of media coverage, political censorship, and people’s inability to access platforms to voice their stories. This can explain the confusion many of us may face when reading up on the issue. As an outsider, it becomes difficult to differentiate between what is political propaganda and what’s the actual truth.

When signing a petition or retweeting a thread about something as sensitive as the Syrian civil war, it is best to do quick research instead of walking into oblivion. There are several credible pages across different platforms to give voice to the Syrians. One such Twitter page @100facesyrev is dedicated to spread awareness about the Syrian uprising and debunk Assadist propaganda.

Another platform worth checking out is @SyriaUntold. The website is available in both English and Arabic. It features Syrian profiles and stories including the Syrian LGBTQ+ community. The website does a remarkable job in amplifying Syrian voices and opinions on a diverse range of topics including but not limited to politics, gender, cinema, and etc.

Each time you come across a petition, carefully read through what it says instead of signing it hastily. Watch out for propagandist wording that could help the different political actors. Look for sources within the country or diaspora citizens to gain a better understanding of the conflict and how to effectively help the people.

The recent Israeli attacks further signify that the Syrian conflict is no longer a civil war but a much larger conflict. It serves as a catalyst for different political and non-political actors to advance their own agendas. It is the Syrian citizens that remain the most vulnerable because no one comes to their aid. Considering that we are living in an increasingly global world, it is as much on all of us to remain vigilant about the conflict when raising awareness and not give in to political propaganda.

 

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  • Ayesha Mirza

    Ayesha is studying Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London. She is passionate about amplifying the voices of the marginalized and/or oppressed and initiating unconventional but important conversations.

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