The renewed attacks from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army have left the world losing faith in humanity. On February 18th, 2018, Assad's army, aided by the Russian military, started bombarding the Damascus suburb in the Eastern Ghouta region in a bid to take control over the region, which is being held by rebels. The barbaric Syrian forces have remorselessly bombed schools, hospitals, and every other civilian habitation, showing no compassion towards women and children. As many as 674 civilians, including 121 children, have lost their lives in the past two weeks and the situation continues to worsen as the war enters its eighth year.

The start of the Syrian civil war

Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father Hafez after his death in 2000 and under his rule, political and socioeconomic tension began to rise after the government was accused of corruption, repression, and denial of political freedom. The tension finally gave birth to nationwide protests in March 2011, which were headed by the Arab Spring in the southern city of Deraa. Assad tried to curb the movement with force and called for the killing of a 13-year-old boy just for drawing anti-government graffiti, sparking outrage in the whole country.

The opposition then decided to take arms against the government to defend themselves and their rights, escalating the situation into a civil war as Assad vowed to take control over the country once again.

The intensification of the civil war

The civil war soon turned into a proxy battleground for external powers, which led to the elongation of the war. While Russia aided Assad to maintain a stronghold in Syria, the United States of America joined forces with the opposition and the involvement of the two superpowers worsened the situation as advance weaponry began to be used in the war causing large-scale destruction and bloodshed.

To add to the fire, sectarianism was promoted to provoke more violence, pitting the Sunni majority against the Shia Alawite sect to which Assad is associated with. The promotion of such views led to the pouring in of armies from neighboring nations and armies from Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan joined hands with the Syrian forces to protect the Shia sect.

The war opened up avenues for Jihadists groups, which rose to power and began to acquire pockets of regions all around Syria,worsening the conditions of the country as it continued to slump to an era of darkness and pain.

UN declares Damascus "Hell on Earth"

The fresh assault on Damascus started on February 18th, when the Syrian forces decided to attack the rebel-held region and bombarded the region continuously for two weeks, burning every structure in the region down to the ground. The bombings have brought out the worst in the war, with 400,000 people stuck in the region with no provisions for food, water, or medical aid for the injured.

The recent assault has drawn international condemnation and led to the United Nations General Assembly vote for a 30-day ceasefire on humanitarian grounds.

However, the ceasefire has failed to hold or even drown the violence in the region. Forces from both sides have been accused of not adhering to the five-hour pauses on humanitarian grounds to evacuate the injured and for the entry of aid convoys into the region. Thousands of families have been forced to make underground shelters in order to save themselves from the continuous air raids. The conditions in the region prompted UN Secretary General António Guterres to term the region "Hell on Earth."

The countries around the world continue to condemn the attack but fail to protect thousands of innocent lives that are lost with each passing day.