Close to 2million Syrians have fled their country into neighboring Jordan,Turkey, Lebanon and others as the crisis deepens and as the international community stands by paralyzed and unable to take definitive action to stop this horrible internecine.
Everyday children, women and the old are forced out of the country to seek refuge against a war that the world has forgotten, a war that nobody is willing to bring to an end because the outcome is not known and indeed a war that does not have a solution in sight.
The refugees come from both sides, those who support the regime and those who do not. Both have come under tremendous pressure which is forcing them to remain outside the country while the two parties fight it out to a stalemate that is certain to consign them to decades of being refugees in foreign territory.
An equal number of people have fled their homes to live as displaced people in their country, with relatives and refugee settlements that are now bursting at the seams. Food is very short supply and sanitary conditions are almost nonexistent.
It is a fate they never anticipated, a fate they never dreamt of and indeed a fate they never prepared themselves for and yet it is a fate they must face because the powers that be have taken hard positions from which they refuse to yield.
In Maaloula-Syria, an old Christian enclave has slowly but steadily emptied as radical Muslim hound out the “infidels” and “Assad dogs”.
“Syria’s civil war is poised to become the worst humanitarian disaster of our time,” wrote Mercy Corps’ CEO Neal Keny-Guyer in a news release.
He further acknowledged that “The politics are complex and the numbers can be overwhelming. But those numbers stand for real people in crisis, right now.”
This is a crisis happening in full view of the world unlike the Rwanda genocide which was reenacted away from cameras and therefore soft on graphics and reality. In Syria the war is ever present on the screens of living rooms around the world. Children can be forgiven for mistaking the mayhem deaths as part of staged film props.
In short the war fatigued world has virtually given up on Syria, just as they will give up on us if we choose to escalate our present difference to a crescendo that will result in physical confrontation. The makings are already there in the intra-party conflict that has seen injuries and hospitalization from violent confrontation.
In Western Province the secessionist campaign has all the trappings of degenerating into a serious conflict if not well handled. The Government may do well to engage such old diplomats such as Vernon Mwaanga and other veterans who will bring sanity to bear. National interest will not be served by wrenching up the ante.