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UN's limited possibilities of coming to the aid of Syrian refugees and civilians

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United Nations Aid to Sieged City and Ceasefire in Syria

The Syrian conflict has created a refugee crisis that has forced the international community to not only work together to find a solution, but to also get in touch with its humanity while handling the conflict. However, the refugee crisis is only half of the story. Those Syrian civilians who are unable to migrate to other countries to escape the conflict are living in a country torn apart by war and divided among several factions. They are living in cities under siege and they lack the proper necessities required for daily survival. The international community has tried to get involved in the conflict in order to resolve it but so far, has been unsuccessful. This week, United Nations found a little success when it was able to deliver humanitarian aid to the sieged city of Deir al-Zour. Furthermore, the United States and Russia lead negotiations between the several factions and were able to broker a two-week ceasefire that is set to take effect this weekend (Saturday February 27, 2016). This event relates to the course context in that it shows the different roles international organizations and states play in the international community. Members of the international community work together to ensure that in some way, the international laws are observed and upheld.

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On Wednesday February 24, the United Nations carried out its first air drop of aid in Syria. The aid was air dropped in Deir al-Zour, which is located in eastern Syria. The air drop was viewed as a last resort in terms of plans of actions to deliver the aid but since access to the city was blocked off, it was the only plan of action available and a successful one. It is estimated that the aid provided should last for about a mouth for the 200,000 civilians. This event is being viewed by many as a success and came in time to help the civilians who have been experiencing severe malnutrition and death as a result of starvation. However, people should hold off on calling this mission a success until some results are observed. This will be hard considering the city is under siege but the United Nations need to come up with a way to calculate whether its plan of action is producing results. If it is not, then it is a waste of time and money that is very essential to the lives of Syrian civilians. There is no guarantee that the aid will last the thirty days considering the people are living under very challenging circumstances. Furthermore, when the aid runs out, the United Nations has to start coming up with a new plan of how to deliver the next rounds of aid. The air drops many not be as successful next time because if it lands in the hands of the factions controlling the city, they could use it as an advantage to bribe the civilians into joining the conflict. Another factor to consider is the fact that the cargos could be damaged during the drops, resulting in the loss of very much needed aid. Yes, the air drops are a last resort but an organization as powerful as the United Nations owes it to the Syrian civilians to come up with plans of actions that guarantee success without having to use last resorts that might not yield results.

The role of the United Nations and its effectiveness has been called into question several times especially when it comes to dealing with internal conflicts such as the Syrian conflict. Thus far, the United Nations has been ineffective in this conflict and has failed to enforce the international law. This relates to the fact that all factions involved in the conflict, including the Assad government, have neglected to follow several international laws. Some of the laws breached include the use of siege warfare, whereby “forces surround an area and cut off essential supplies.” In addition, factions are using aerial and artillery attacks on civilians, taking the war to the streets and raising the casualties of the war, many of which are innocents. The ineffectiveness of the United Nations in this conflict can be attributed to the involvement of the United States and Russia in the conflict but on opposing sides. In order for the United Nations to become more effective in this conflict, and future conflicts, the five permanent members of the Security Council have to learn to work together or the council be dissolved because the members have too much power that is preventing any sort of action in conflicts.

The United States and Russia lead negotiations among the factions and were able to broker a two-week ceasefire that is expected to take effect this weekend. However, the ceasefire excludes the Islamic State (ISIS) and the al-Qaeda linked group al-Nusra Front. The factions that agreed to observe the ceasefire stated that they would continue fighting these two groups. As a result, the ceasefire is viewed as unsuccessful before it is even implemented since it was supposed to put a pause to the war and allow aid to be delivered to all Syrian civilians. The negotiations should have included the Islamic State or should have provided a framework with how to deal with the group considering it has emerged as a major player in the conflict. In order to become more effective in this conflict, the High Negotiations Committee is calling on the United Nations to implement a resolution that would “lift sieges, allow aid deliveries, halt aerial and artillery attacks on civilians, and release detainees.” In other words, the United Nations needs to step in and take resolute action to work towards ending this conflict.

In conclusion, this week the United Nations took steps in the right direction as it relates to involvement in this conflict. The first delivering of aid to the civilians is very essential but moving forward, the United Nations has to find ways to keep supplying civilians with humanitarian aid. This conflict can be instrumental in making the United Nations relevant and effective again, it all depends on the plans of actions they take from now moving forward in this conflict. The implementation of a United Nations resolution could be instrumental in ending a crisis whose effects are being experienced all over the world in the form of refugees. This conflict is spilling out of its original boundaries and its spreading to other parts of the world. The international community needs to work together to make sure that it does not spark other conflicts in the world and end it. Finally, the ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia shows that these two United Nations Security Council powerhouses can work together to bring peace in the region. These states have spread their influence in the region and if anyone can work with the countries to bring peace to the region, it is definitely these two. Furthermore, the United States may soon realize that the Assad government is the lesser of all evils involved in the conflict. From the beginning, the Russian government emphasized to the United States that the Assad government could be instrumental in helping to fight the Islamic state, which at this point has put the international community on alert. Fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups with the help of Assad government helps to eliminate many factions in the conflict that are threatening the international order. Governments and organizations need to work together to find common group whereby conflicts are eliminated while international law is observed.

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