September 6, 2012
by Moises Saman
Syria is in a state of civil war. In the last eighteen months what started as a homegrown peaceful protest against the regime of Bashar al-Assad has morphed into an ugly and increasingly sectarian conflict, confronting against each other the complex patchwork of sects, religions, and ethnicities that exist in Syria.
In the summer of 2012 the war entered a new phase after the rebel Free Syrian Army successfully orchestrated the bombing assassination of key members of Assad's war council, followed by major rebel offensives in the cities of Aleppo and the Syrian capital Damascus.
By late july the regime seemed to be staggering, demoralized by the rebel gains and constant rumors of defections among senior members of the government. The rebel momentum suggested that a perfect storm would lead to the immediate fall of the regime. It was not the case.
The regime's introduction of air power and indiscriminate bombardment of civilian centers is forcing a massive flight of refugees toward Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. As of August the UNHCR reported that over 230,000 registered refugees.
The latest casualty figures suggest that people are dying at the rate of 100 per day. Both sides in this conflict appear to be hunkering down and preparing for a long and vicious war that will inevitably effect any chance at future reconciliation.