While Barack Obama is in his last days as the U.S. President, the questions are being raised about the role he can do to stop the war in Syria and the daily crimes against the Syrian civilians.
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.
The Assad regime forces, backed by Russian air power, Iranian ground forces and Shi’ite militia fighters from Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, has been tightening its grip on rebel-held districts around Syria, and together they committed crimes against the Syrian civilians to force the rebels to surrender.
Barack Obama said on Sunday that chaos in Syria could persist for “quite some time,” giving nothing other than speeches as he always did.
“I am not optimistic about the short-term prospects in Syria,” Obama said at a news conference in Lima at the conclusion of a summit with leaders of Pacific Rim countries.
“Once Russia and Iran made a decision to back Assad and a brutal air campaign and essentially a pacification of Aleppo regardless of civilian casualties, children being killed or wounded, schools or hospitals being destroyed, then it was very hard to see a way in which even a trained and committed moderate opposition could hold its ground for long periods of time,” he said.
“At this stage, we’re going to need a change in how all parties think about this in order for us to end the situation there,” Obama said, adding: “There’s no doubt that there will continue to be extremist forces in and around Syria because it’s still going to be in chaos for quite some time.”
Obama has always been a man of words. He uses his words, speeches and condemnations as a mask to hide the unwillingness of the US administration to interfere in Syria.
Obama’s Syria policy has been predicated on the goal of avoiding deeper military entanglements in the chaotic Middle East but has been widely criticized as hesitant and risk-averse.
In the first days of the Syrian crisis, Obama said that the days of Assad became few, giving the Syrian civilians hope and making them resist more hoping the US will make military intervention against Assad.
Obama also said the US is sending arms and supporting the rebels and political opposition. Obama also succeeded in organizing meetings calling for ceasefire halting of bombing against civilians, despite the negative results of these meetings.
Syrians say that the US haven’t given the Syrian opposition any support. On the contrary, it gave Assad a license to kill them, and this will not change now.
While Washington has provided significant support to the opposition, it has never matched the backing given to Assad by Russia and Iran.
President Barack Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a “red line” for him but then withered when Assad’s forces used sarin-filled shells to kill some 1,400 Syrians men, women, and children in 2013. America has armed and trained Syrian rebels, but only in small numbers. It never bombed Assad’s forces their behalf or established a no-fly zone where Syrian civilians might be safe from Syrian and Russian airstrikes.
“Even President Obama’s own State Department believes the administration’s Syria policy is failing,” said Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee. “Iran, Russia and Assad call the shots in Syria, ignoring the cease-fire and allowing Assad to continue war crimes against his own people.
“To the ones who fear of Trump’s statements and threats, revise Obama’s policy and you will find no difference. Trump is just speaking without any political mask,” Faisal al-Kasem, a prominent Syrian journalist, has said.
“That S.O.B. we have in Damascus is the luckiest bastard in the world,” says Faisal Alazem, Montreal director of the Syrian Canadian Council.
“He had eight years of Obama, where red line after red line was crossed with no consequences. And now he gets Trump, probably the Western leader that is going to be the closest to Vladimir Putin.”
Five years ago, Alazem says, he was the most optimistic person in the world. He believed the interests of Syrian democrats and Western governments were aligned, and together they would force Assad from power.
Now, Alazem, who also runs a charity that operates a school for Syrian refugees in Turkey, has concluded that no one outside Syria will help its people. But he still doesn’t believe the Syrian revolution is dead.
“As long as there is one person on the streets defying all this violence around him, whether it’s ISIS or these barrel bombs falling on their heads, it’s not [over],” he says.
“Because it’s a miracle. No normal human being can sustain and resist so much violence, and people still are. But it’s not the spring we were dreaming about five years ago. And the price Syrians have to pay is just incredible.”
So as the Syrians say, the one who failed them for five years and didn’t make any positive step, will not change the situation for better in his last days.