The civil war in Syria is now in its seventh year, and currently shows no signs of slowing down. On Sunday, February 18, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched an aerial attack into the rural town of Eastern Ghouta. Al Jazeera report that the area has been under rebel control and locked in a siege with government forces for five years. This recent wave of aerial attacks has seen Assad's forces backed by Russian aircraft. So far, 403 people have been confirmed dead and over 2,000 others have been wounded.

Conditions in Ghouta

On the ground, the small, rural town has turned into a humanitarian nightmare.

Sources say that work is difficult to sustain under the conditions of the bombing, and school has been canceled indefinitely for roughly one month now. Also, nearly 12 percent of children four or under are malnourished. This may be owing to the fact that local prices have skyrocketed. even the simplest foods now cost the equivalent of at least a few dollars.

Medical Resources

The medical situation is even worse. According to eyewitnesses, government forces are actively targeting medical centers, and more than 20 have been hit since the siege began. This has reduced Syrian medical personnel to treating the wounded in improvised hospitals. These limited resources combined with the sheer amount of casualties inflicted has made it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for doctors to treat them all.

UN response

With the situation in Ghouta growing ever worse for civilians, the UN is attempting to broker peace between the Syrian government and rebel forces, if only for a short time so that humanitarian aid can be given to the besieged. However, such efforts have been unsuccessful since both Syria and Russia were heavily resistant to such a proposal.

Diplomats from both nations have made claims that the rebels and those who back them of having terrorist affiliations. Others have commented that Assad is a war criminal and that the Russians are breaching international law by aiding him.

Brief summary of ISIS and the war

In terms of how terrorists, ISIS members in particular, are involved in the conflict and whether any of the above claims are valid, things get complicated.

To sum up, ISIS has territory in Syria, and, seeing as it is Sunni, is actively fighting against the Shi'ite regime of Assad. The US, however, is refusing to support them. It has declared them an enemy and is bombing only ISIS-controlled parts of Syria. It is, however, supplying certain Rebel Groups that it deems trustworthy. Russia is taking a more active part of the war, siding with Assad and carrying out air attacks against rebel groups, among them ISIS. In international terms, some would see the Syrian Civil War as a testing ground for various methods of combating ISIS.