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Recently, some British tourists in Aleppo marveled at how rebel snipers a few years ago fired on Syrian government troops from the very same positions where archers nearly a millennia ago defended the ancient Citadel of Aleppo from Christian Crusaders.
European tourists are returning to Syria.
These visits have garnered criticism, of course. As the Washington Post explained, these tourists are arguably helping finance the brutal and dictatorial regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
One might add that these tourists are putting themselves in danger, too. While fighting in the Syrian Civil War has subsided, more violence might erupt at any moment, noted World Politics Review.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now dominating the news cycle. But Syria remains perhaps the most tragic and bloody conflict in recent memory. More than 300,000 civilians died in the fighting that started in 2011, the United Nations recently found. That figure doesn’t include another 100,000 combatants or civilians who perished from starvation, sickness or other consequences of war. The war also displaced millions from their homes.
An anonymous testifier referred to as the “gravedigger” recently told the US Senate that Assad’s regime is still digging mass graves for rebels, CNN wrote. “Every week, twice a week, three trailer trucks arrived packed with 300 to 600 bodies of victims of torture, bombardment and slaughter,” said the gravedigger. “Twice a week, three to four pickup trucks with 30 to 40 bodies of civilians that had been executed in Sednaya prison also arrived for disposal in the most inhumane way.”
Iran and Turkey also continue to meddle in Syrian affairs while also vying with each other for influence in the country, Al-Monitor wrote. The Islamic State remains active there. Refugee camps have become hotbeds of recruitment for the militants, reported Haaretz. Syrian leaders have condemned Israel for alleged attacks against Hezbollah terrorists on their territory, Reuters added.
The Syrian Civil War also kicked off a migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East that is still going on to this day. Officials in neighboring Lebanon are now trying to repatriate tens of thousands of Syrians who fled the fighting, for example, the Associated Press reported.
Global conditions are not necessarily making it easier for people to put the war behind them, either. Observers are hoping Russian diplomats in the UN Security Council, for example, don’t exercise their right to veto aid shipments to areas that are still under rebel control in Syria. Russia is allied with Assad. Amnesty International warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” if the aid is not allowed through.
These developments illustrate how one of the worst disasters of the contemporary era won’t be over until it is 100 percent over. Unfortunately, that day is not in sight.