|Dr. David Lynch speaks to students about the situation in Syria.|
Photo by Mae Yang
Lynch, a political science professor and chairman of the social science department at Saint Mary’s University, was invited to speak on the subject by the Peace and Justice Club. Although Lynch does not specialize on the Middle East, he agreed to speak because of his interest in the present state of Syria, especially the difficulties facing the humanitarian efforts trying to get to those who are need of aid.
Lynch said, “The United Nations estimated 40 percent of Syria in dire need of aid.” Right now, the death toll has reached 110,000, and there are 2 million refugees, according to Lynch. With winter coming, the urgency to help these refugees increases, he said. However, humanitarian efforts are prevented from reaching many of these people because of the constant fighting and disagreement in the Middle East.
Syria, made up of a mix of many different religions and ethnic groups, has been under the rule of the Assad Regime since 1971. Since the Arab Spring hit Syria in March of 2011, the opposition has been fighting to overthrow the regime. The Assad Regime has used violence to maintain their position of power ever since it took control, and they view staying in power as means for survival.
As Lynch states, “There is no one opposition.” While the opposing forces are trying to overthrow the Assad Regime, they are also fighting battles among themselves. The United States is aiding the opposition, but there is no single leading group to speak for all of the opposing forces. It would be “impossible to untangle the opposition,” said Lynch.
The complexity of the situation leaves us observing with the fear that the conflict will spread to include additional countries, even forcing the United States to become more involved in active warfare. Lynch worries about not only the possibility of it escalating, but also the problems facing humanitarian efforts attempting to assist those in need of aid.