On September 30, 2015, Russia’s intervention in Syria marked the beginning of a protracted war that would lead to catastrophic consequences for the Syrian people. Vladimir Putin’s direct support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the utilization of various weapons unleashed a wave of destruction, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives, the displacement of millions, and some of the most horrific massacres witnessed in modern history. Tragically, much of the international community has remained silent, allowing Russia to act with impunity and emboldening its aggressive actions in other regions, such as Ukraine.
The Unprecedented Destruction
Over the course of eight years, from September 30, 2015, to September 17, 2023, Russian forces, in their support of the Assad regime, launched a staggering 5,741 attacks on Syrian territory. These attacks, as documented by organizations like The White Helmets, resulted in the deaths of 4,072 civilians, including 1,165 children and 754 women. Moreover, 8,426 civilians were injured, with 2,154 children and 1,709 women among the casualties.
The years 2016 and 2018 proved to be particularly devastating, with 1,076 deaths and 2,611 injuries in the former and 1,076 deaths and 1,707 injuries in the latter. These statistics are a stark reminder of the relentless violence inflicted upon innocent Syrian civilians.
The Silent International Community
One of the most troubling aspects of the Syrian war has been the muted response from the international community. While some nations have voiced their concerns and called for an end to the violence, concrete action has been sorely lacking. This silence has allowed Russia to act with impunity in Syria, further strengthening its position and emboldening its expansionist ambitions.
The international community’s failure to take decisive action in response to the atrocities committed by Russian forces in Syria has not only cost countless lives but has also set a dangerous precedent. The lack of consequences for Russia’s actions in Syria has emboldened the country to pursue similar aggressive policies in other regions, notably Ukraine.
The Russian intervention in Syria has served as a blueprint for its actions in Ukraine. The Syrian war has provided Russia with valuable experience in managing a complex military campaign, testing new weaponry, and gauging international responses. As a result, Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, particularly in the war in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, has been marked by a similar disregard for international norms and a willingness to use military force to achieve its objectives.
September 30, 2015, is a dark day in the history of the Syrian war. The Russian intervention, with its devastating consequences, has left a lasting scar on the nation and its people. The international community’s failure to adequately respond to the atrocities in Syria has emboldened Russia and set a troubling precedent for its actions in other regions.
As the Syrian war continues to unfold and the situation in Ukraine remains tense, it is crucial for the international community to reflect on the lessons learned from the Syrian experience. Swift and decisive action, as well as a commitment to upholding international norms and principles, are essential to preventing further devastation and loss of life in regions affected by Russian aggression.