By Maddie Cullerton
The European Union has pledged to extend sanctions against Syria on Monday, once again highlighting the continuing, complicated and deadly violence there.
Syria has been mired in a painful, sectarian conflict since December 2011, resulting in over 60,000 civilian deaths.
The conflict began between anti-government protestors and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It is now drawing upon its two-year mark with no sign of resolution.
Since its start, the violence has steadily escalated from poorly organized rebel groups, to a much stronger coalition against the weakened government.
The conflict now draws along ethnic lines, the Sunni majority and the government-affiliated Alawi sect.
Though some opposition leaders have noted further weakening of the Assad government as his members defect and flee to Jordon.
The battle rages on with the death toll rising and over 400,000 refugees fleeing into neighboring countries.
“It’s painful to watch this conflict continue with no resolution in site,” said Jane Williams ‘13.
The U.N. has categorized both sides as committing war crimes and the international community has called for an end to the violence.
However, all demands for action by the Security Council have been stifled by China and Russia.
In late August, President Barack Obama threatened military action when Syria was believed to have accumulated large quantities of mustard gas, sarin and other chemical warfare.
Obama has pledged allegiance to the rebel groups.
Thus far, fears of becoming embroiled in another war and cutting off a crucial oil route have led the U.S. to stick to non-lethal aid, instead planning for a transitional government if Assad were to fall from power.
“As long as American military intervention stays off the table, the American government can handle this situation safely and responsibly,” said Alex Clain ‘15.
Obama’s lack of military aid, or further action from the Western world, has led to negative sentiments among the rebel groups as they predict further radicalization within Syria.
With Europe re-establishing its sanctions and U.N. investigators putting an un-released list of Syrian war criminals up for trial at the International Criminal Court, perhaps some retribution for the victims will soon come.