Syrian war escalates while world leaders remain spectators

Published On March 9, 2018 | By Noman Sattar | International, News, Politics


A Civil Defence member reacts at a damaged site after an airstrike in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Syria on Feb. 9. (REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh)

Noman Sattar

Canada has a moral obligation to speak up to help end the Syrian war, said a professor who is an expert in Middle East affairs.

Nader Hashemi, a Toronto-born expert on the Middle East and Islamic affairs who leads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, expressed concerns about the silence of the Canadian government, especially during the recent attacks.

Hashemi told Humber News that Canada in today’s global climate has a great deal of moral credibility.

If the Canadian government were to speak out much more publicly of what is happening in Syria today, it would generate global attention, Hashemi said.

“Canada has issued a very weak statement, and they have tried to ignore the severity of the crises that are going on, so as a result, the conflict continues, the

human suffering continues,” he said. 

“There is much more Canada can do on the global level to draw attention on what’s happening, but I acknowledge that Canada is not a global player and can’t by itself change what is happening in Syria,” according to Hashemi.

Syrians in Canada are concerned about the deadliest bombardment in February that may lead to an escalation of the humanitarian crisis.

The latest attacks on civilians by the Syrian regime and Russian warplanes left more than 500 people dead in Eastern Ghouta, the suburb located in the east of Damascus.

Mohammed Abu Anas runs with an injured boy in the besieged Eastern Ghouta town of Hamouriyeh near Damascus, Syria, on Feb. 21. (REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh/File Photo)

More than 1,200 civilians were killed in February, according to the UN Security Council report.

Syrians in Toronto are speaking up for their families and friends in Syria and calling for peace after the recent attacks.

Rami Albaroudi, the social media officer at the Toronto-based Syrian Canadian Foundation, said the situation in Syria is one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the 21st Century.

“Most of the Syrian refugees we have interacted with have expressed their concern for, and sadness over, the situation in Syria,” Albaroudi said.

As the conflict enters its eighth year in March, Syrian refugees want Canadians to show their support for children and civilians affected by the war.


In comparison and contrast with U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and some of the other world leaders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has an image globally that is respected and has credibility, he said.

A Syrian family follows the cones to cross the U.S.-Canada border into Canada from Champlain, N.Y., U.S., Aug. 3, 2017. (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

Canada has been a leading country in accepting refugees when other Western countries have been reluctant to do so.

According to Statistics Canada, the country accepted 40,081 Syrian refugees under Government-Assisted Refugee, Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugee, and Privately Sponsored Refugee categories as of Jan. 29, 2017.

“Canada should also be playing the role to try to stop the flow of refugees from Syria, and that demands to try to address the underline problem that are the root of the conflict, that are producing so many refugees, and those are the policies of the Bashar al Assad regime, and his on-going systematic use of war crimes against his own population,” Hashemi said.


Delegates attend a U.N. Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Feb. 22. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

A UN Security Council report on Syria issued in March stated the chemical attacks in Syria are continuing, with at least three additional attacks have reportedly taken place in February.

Hashemi said the cause of the war, which was sparked by a violent government response to a peaceful protest, will remain the source of instability in Syria and in the Middle East for many years to come.


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