As I write this, Russia is not only conducting airstrikes against ISIS, but against the enemies of Bashar al-Assad. Considering the UK, US and many other countries don’t think Syria has a future under his regime, it was no surprise then to hear that Barack Obama condemned Putin’s move as “a recipe for disaster“. America’s problem doesn’t end there. Iran too is propping up the current government, while China has heavily been rumoured to back Assad too.
The problem doesn’t end here. Not only are the world powers quarrelling over what a post-war Syrian government would be, Europe is torn over the ongoing migrant crisis, with hundreds of thousand of refugees mainly from Syria flocking to its shores, even at immense personal risk. While countries like Germany are projected to have very generously accepted 800,000 people this calendar year, Hungary has set up a barrier between itself and neighbouring Serbia, and Slovakia doesn’t seem to be too keen on accepting Muslims. Hungary claims that currently the conditions of the Dublin regulation (which means asylum seekers must register at the first EU country they arrive at) are not being met, and while it’s true that this is happening not nearly enough, one of two things must now happen: Either the EU changes to accommodate for these migrants, or these migrants change and abide by the EU.
This crisis is dividing dividing not only the EU but the UN too. This week’s 70th annual session of the UN General Assembly was dominated by the steely handshake between Barack Obama and Vladmir Putin. With the two arguing about Syria on very different grounds, what could they have possibly agreed on?
It seems that all which can be hoped for at this point is compromise. Both the EU and UN must recognise the eclectic views of its constituents, and note that some countries for various reasons will take more people than others. They must also promote international dialogue on brokering the end of the civil war, which is the root of all these issues. Once agreements are made on these subjects, then we can move on. Amid reports that the Schengen zone may be in danger, these are tough times for these two institutions often criticised for being too bureaucratic.
So with a civil war that has raged on for years remaining to displace millions, and a subsequent refugee crisis emerging out of it, what does the future hold for Syria? As unfortunate as it is, I find it hard to see a solution to this any time soon.
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