2021 marks the tenth year of the war in Syria - the US-backed civil conflict which crippled and very nearly destroyed what was once an oasis of secularism, ethnic diversity and interfaith peace in the Middle East. In addition to destabilising the region, the war has contributed heavily to the refugee crisis facing many European countries.
On the war's 10th anniversary, Sputnik has put together an infographic which gives a full break-down of the war's deadly consequences: civilian casualties - including children; how many have been forced to flee as refugees and internally displaced persons; the destruction of infrastructure, housing and industry, and more. Data is based on figures researched by Russian scholars specialising in the Middle East and US foreign policy.
The United States spent billions of dollars on a secret CIA war against the Middle Eastern nation, providing thousands of tonnes of arms, training and financial support to militias in a programme known as 'Timber Sycamore'. As the war continued, independent investigations by US media began to reveal that the 'rebels' who received the aid were often directly linked to jihadist extremists including Daesh (ISIS)* and al-Qaeda.* The Trump administration reportedly curtailed the programme in mid-2017, but continued to pressure Damascus through sanctions and the occupation of wide swathes of Syria's territory. The Biden administration has so far publicly continued Trump-era policy on Syria.
A decade on from the war's start, the Syrian Army has managed to consolidate control over much of its territory, and, with help from its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies, succeeded in crushing the terrorists. Now, as Damascus rebuilds from war and negotiates peace, it is facing what may be its toughest challenge yet - finding a way to regain territories occupied by the United States and its allies, Turkish-backed militias and jihadist remnants. Today, the war is also being waged on the diplomatic front, with Syria continuing to insist that Washington and its European allies lift their crushing and illegal sanctions against the war-torn nation.
Check out Sputnik's infograpics to learn more.
* Terrorist groups outlawed in Russia and many other countries.