US and Syria Update

by Sarah Willson

The United States has dropped more bombs and killed more civilians in Iraq and Syria this March than any other month on record, according to an independent monitoring group. 

In Iraq 268 strikes were carried out, while 434 were carried out in Syria within the month of March, killing as many as 3,471 people.

This statistic involves data from the U.S. airstrike on Syria’s Shayrat airbase, launched on April 7, which destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian government’s operational aircraft and killed six people.

Although some may be satisfied with the fact that President Donald Trump is keeping his campaign promise to target ISIS, one Central Connecticut State University student is not so sure this is the best option.

“I’m for and against [the U.S. airstrike],” said Andrea Sanchez, a student majoring in international studies with a concentration in the Middle East. “I don’t agree with over-involvement by the United States because it seems that we always make things worse.”

“From a humanitarian standpoint, I think it’s a good thing not just because it was that the U.S. got involved, but because international intervention needs to happen in Syria because there is a huge humanitarian crisis on its civilians,” said Sanchez. 

Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have also been on the rise since the airstrike. In a recent statement, Trump said that U.S. relations with Russia may be at an “all-time low.”

“I think they already kind of did [impact the U.S. and Russia relationship],” said Sanchez about the airstrike. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin called off a meeting last week with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 

“I think it’s kind of interesting that he didn’t meet with him,” said  Sanchez. ”I think that already speaks volumes.”

When asked about the Syrian people, Sanchez stated that the only way to bring them peace would be “if there was some international coalition to stop Bashar,” because “he will do anything to stay in power.”

Sanchez also believes that the U.S. should accept Syrian refugees. 

“We’re bombing a country for killing civilians but we don’t want to take the civilians from the country that’s being bombed,” said Sanchez. “It doesn’t make any sense why we would not accept them, especially if we’re bombing their airfield.”

“Taking in civilians would help the cause because it would send a message to the the whole world to join together instead of turning them away,” said Sanchez.

Along with this, the U.S. is also struggling to decide who to take out first— ISIS or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

“I think the most imminent danger is Assad at the moment,” said Sanchez. “It’s not that one is less evil than the other, I think they’re both equally as bad; I just think that Assad has more means to create a more catastrophic effect on its people.”

For the U.S., this problem ultimately leads to the question of whether or not the U.S. should continue to enforce military actions against Syria.

“You’re almost one and done” said Sanchez, regarding the airstrike. “It didn’t really help anything.”

The U.S. has proposed no further military action on Syria, but Press Secretary Sean Spicer says it is not off the table. 

For now, the White House says its priority above all is defeating ISIS, contrasting the UN Ambassador to the U.S. Nikki Haley, who claims there cannot be peace in Syria until Assad is defeated.