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To ask for someone to explain (in easy language) what is happening in Syria and why?

(16 Posts)
ChubbyFeets Thu 06-Feb-14 16:45:54

That's it really. I'm seeing all these children dying and people are raising money, but I'm not exactly sure what is happening and how to explain it to my dd.

ballinacup Thu 06-Feb-14 16:50:21

Basically, the country is in civil war between the existing government and rebel forces.

There's a really easy to understand cbbc page for your daughter to look at here

ChubbyFeets Thu 06-Feb-14 17:01:48

Thanks ballina, I've just read the link. Makes a bit more sense now. So is Assad a Muslim? And the rebels non muslims? I used to have a Syrian friend who was Zoroastrian and used to tell me how they had to hide their religion as they would be put into jail if they were found out. Or are the rebels Muslims too?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 06-Feb-14 17:05:22

I think it's that there are Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims. Assad is one and the Rebels are another.

Al Queda are now fighting with the Rebels which is worrying.

There is the possibility that if Assad is overthrown then there could be a very fundamentalist government in Syria, bit like Afghanistan years ago.

That's what I've picked up from the news......could be wrong though!

VivaLeBeaver Thu 06-Feb-14 17:07:07

I think it started from the Arab Spring. Syrian people saw what was happening more successfully in other Arab countries and tried it. Thinking overthrowing Assad would happen easier than what's happened.

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Thu 06-Feb-14 17:08:33

It's a Muslim country, govt forces and rebels are mostly same religion.

It is a most devastating situation- my opinion is Assad is the scum of the earth, it's a shame we didn't help get rid of him earlier. Unfortunately now, many of the rebels have unsurprisingly given the terrible terrible circs, become both fractured and more extreme. It would be very difficult for the west to unequivocally give them their support now.

ChubbyFeets Thu 06-Feb-14 17:09:56

Are Shia Muslims a majority in Syria?

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Thu 06-Feb-14 17:10:33

And what viva said.

I have given up reading about it sad it is devastating what Assad has done to his nations children.

NowRising Thu 06-Feb-14 17:11:03

The government are Alawites, I think (similar to Shia?) and the majority of the population are Sunni muslims.

My Syrian friend says there has been conflict between the Shias and Sunnis for many, many years. Her family fled from Syria in the 80s because they were threatened and her father was tortured. They still have family in Syria but cannot return to visit.

NowRising Thu 06-Feb-14 17:13:07

Assad is in the minority, I think - Alawite/ Shia? (I dont know that they are the same thing). I don't actually know WHY there is conflict - what it is about/ who wants to achieve what though.

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Thu 06-Feb-14 17:15:39

Well initially wasn't it just to overthrow Assad?

JanineStHubbins Thu 06-Feb-14 17:17:06

It seems to be a choice between a violent repressive regime and a violently repressive religious fundamentalist regime. It's a mess, but it's for the Syrian people to sort out, without outside interference beyond assistance for refugees and displaced persons.

ChubbyFeets Thu 06-Feb-14 17:22:11

Ah I see. What about countries like Iran, who are Shia majority, are they supporters of Assad's government?

It is terrible what is happening. The children suffering is hard to watch. What kind of aid is being sent over and how? Is Assad's government trying to stop outside aid?

zenoushka Thu 06-Feb-14 18:24:00

This may help:

www.news.com.au/world/simple-points-to-help-you-understand-the-syria-conflict/story-fndir2ev-1226705155146

FairPhyllis Thu 06-Feb-14 18:31:08

The Assads are Alawite, which is a branch of Shia Islam, although Assad's actual political party is a secular party. The Alawites are a minority within Syria, which is mostly Sunni, but control the government and the leadership of the army. Syrian Alawites support Assad, because they were historically persecuted by Sunnis and will probably all be killed by the Sunni population if he loses control.

Syria is Iran's closest ally in the Middle East, and the Iranian government have supported Assad for years. They are backing Shia fighters from Lebanon and other countries to fight there now and are probably providing weapons to the government. It would be a disaster for Iran if Assad were to fall because it would change the balance of power in the ME in favour of Sunni countries.

If Assad loses, the question is what replaces him. The original Syrian rebels are finding that the country is being flooded with foreign fundamentalist Sunnis, who want to impose a fundamentalist state in the region. Even if they manage to topple Assad, the actual Syrians themselves might not be able to prevent a fundamentalist state being set up even if they don't want it.

Plus if the Sunnis win, the war may spread to Lebanon and parts of Iraq, where there are lots of Shias.

Shakshuka Thu 06-Feb-14 19:13:48

The Alwaites are a sect of shia Islam but many Sunnis see them as infidels. Although the Assads are Alwaites, the Baath party is, in effect, a party of minorities: Alawites, Christians, Druze and other Shia and emphasised pan-Arabism as its unifying motif.

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