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Why The Conflict in Syria Violates The Just War Theory

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I feel that the conflict in Syria violates the Just War Theory. The rules of Just War include human right not to be killed or tortured, and also that other countries must intervene during mass killings and genocide. People are having their human rights taken away, and the intervention from the US as well as other countries has done little to nothing to help. Perhaps it has even made things worse. I have heard a lot since this past summer about it, especially about Aleppo. I wanted to understand why it started, so I found an article on BBC called “Why is there war in Syria?” from December 2016 to learn about how this all started. I also read the articles “Syria executions: Did Assad’s government carry out a ‘policy of extermination’?” from Christian Science Monitor and “Amnesty Report Accuses Syria of Executing Thousands Since War Began” from the New York Times, because these were more recent articles from about a week ago, regarding the genocide of Syrian citizens by their own government.

Many Syrians were angered by unemployment and political corruption under President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father in 2000. Then, in 2011, the Syrian government used deadly force against pro-democracy protesters in Deraa. This is a violation of human rights, which are a part of Just War. The protesters were not attacking people less powerful than them, and they were killed as a result of governmental force. The protests spread, people started getting armed, and soon it was the full out civil war we are familiar with today.

The intervention of other countries has made the war drag on longer. Because there were so many human rights violations, other countries intervening would not violate Just War Theory, but it would fit it, under the obligation to not attack unless someone else attacked first, or human rights were violated. Jihadist groups have gained more power in Syria because of its weakened state due to the war. IS groups are battling not only the Syrian government, but also the rebels against the Syrian government, and Kurdish groups. One of the things the US did was airstrikes on jihadists. I think that this is acceptable under Just War Theory if it only kills jihadist. However, these can also take out innocent civilians as well, which would violate Just War Theory. The U.S. has armed moderate rebels, being careful to make sure that the weapons aren’t transferred from rebels to jihadists. I think that this fits Just War Theory, because that way the rebels can help take down the corrupt government. However, some of these weapons are still bound to end up in the ends of jihadists, because many have allied themselves with the rebels.

The only way we can truly avoid this is by sending in our own troops to fight the jihadist as well as take down the corrupt Syrian government. However, we would lose our own people, as well as a lot of money and resources. I think that it might be a violation of Just War theory to not directly interfere in Syria, where the government is committing genocide. It is similar to the Clinton administration in the 90s refusing to intervene in Rwanda. We have been trying to do something to help Syrians, but it really isn’t enough, because they’re still dying. Thus, it violates Just War as well as UN agreements to intervene when genocide is being committed. Amnesty International has recently found in a report that up to 13,000 prisoners were tortured and unjustly killed at Saydnaya Prison since 2011. Most of them were in the prison for voicing their disproval for the government. Many were formal military members as well. There were faulty trials for these prisoners. Another report found about 17,000 more deaths in different prisons in Syria that were similar and unjust. This violates Just War theory, because no proper trials were given, prisoners were tortured, and they were also starved and dehydrated as well.

Russia has also done many airstrikes, which they claim only hit terrorists, but records show they mostly hit Western-based rebel groups. These also contributed to the government siege in Aleppo. Many innocent civilians died in Aleppo. I remember seeing plenty of “goodbye” messages from citizens of Aleppo going viral online. They knew they were going to die, and that they couldn’t do a thing about it. That is surely a violation of Just War. As of August 2015, a quarter million people have been killed in Syria, according to the UN. As of earlier this month, the death are estimated to be around 410,000. Almost 5 million people have fled Syria. To me, it seems the because of the UN, we are all entitled to help refugees at least. If we don’t, they will be murdered or succumb to disease or starvation. One thing I think the US has done right in Syria is stating that we must investigate Russia’s bombings, because many of them killed civilians in Aleppo. The International Red Cross has complied very well with Just War by supplying aid to the victims of these bombings, as well as creating makeshift hospitals.

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Why the Conflict in Syria Violates the Just War Theory. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from
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