What’s new in Syria? Absolutely nothing.
The civil war continues to drag on with increasing destruction. Sorry, no end in sight.
One of the continuing concerns is the destruction of important archeological sites that are in the line of fire. Because of the ancient history of the entire area, significant remnants of the past are virtually everywhere. Of course, these materials don’t get a ripple of attention in a war. Bombs level and obliterate any and everything in their path.
Palmyra, with ancient Roman ruins, was once known as The Bride of the Desert. Today, the civil war rages in this exact area. First settled over 5,000 years ago, Ebla contains important insights into how Syrian civilization began, but today it is a battlefield. Citadels and castles at Aleppo, Hama, and Homs are in the same danger.
This week Syrian President Bashar Assad made an usual and rare public appearance to condemn the United States for supporting al-Qaida in the civil war. Al-Qaida? Is he joking? The world knows that’s the last thing the United States is interested in doing. In addition, Assad lashed out at Jordan, protesting that they were allowing thousands of fighters to enter Syria through their borders. Assad warned the Jordanians that “fire will not stop at Syria’s border.” His logic is in a class with Kim Jong-um of North Korean. Assad’s attack seems to have the logic of a man with his back to the wall lashing out at everyone in sight. Of course, he offered no evidence to back up his charges.
All reports indicate that some extremist groups are having an exceptional impact on Syria. Among a wide range of rebels, Jabhat al-Nusra is an al-Qaida affiliate. Sometimes called the Nusra Front, they have emerged as the most effective force fighting Assad.
In a recent blog, I commented on what appeared to be a growing relationship between Syrian and Jordan. Assad’s comments appear to have doomed those possibilities. However, recent unrest in Jordan has thrown another log on the fire. In the Zaatari Refugee camp near the Syrian border, demonstrators have began throwing rocks at the Jordanians and created a tense situation. Apparently, rock-throwing demonstrations have become a near-daily occurrence causing Jordanian police to use tear-gas to break up and halt the conflicts. These hostilities don’t help the Syrian situation.
The prime minister of Jordan estimates they have 500,000 Syrian refugees. No small number. However, on Saturday local Jordanian residents blocked the roads to the Zaatrai camp to prevent the delivery of water in an attempt to express solidarity with their government. The refugee camp has plenty of food, but 925,000 gallons of water must be delivered daily. Blocking such traffic was a strong expression of Jordanian sentiment. While initial reports seemed to suggest Jordan might swing toward support of the Assad regime, these recent events don’t support that idea.
Even though the Syrian government makes wild claims, they still appear stuck in the past along with those relics from Ebla and Palmyra.