Syria Conflict Enters Fourth Year With Dim Outlook

More than 146,000 people are estimated killed and 9 million displaced in the three-year struggle borne out of 2011's Arab Spring movement.

Syria Conflict Enters Fourth Year With Dim Outlook
Flickr / Rami Alhames

It's a grim anniversary as the conflict in Syria entered its fourth year Saturday. And there's still no discernable resolution in sight for the bloody civil war. 

This footage from Vice offers a raw glimpse inside the wartorn country. More than 146,000 people are estimated killed and 9 million displaced in the three-year struggle borne out of 2011's Arab Spring movement. 

While there was some speculation early in the conflict that the rebel movement would succeed in toppling President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the tone has shifted in recent months as government forces gain more ground against the opposition.

The latest of these gains came Sunday with reports that government forces now control a key rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border north of Damascus. (Via Syrian Perspective)

Al Jazeera points out that Yabroud was the last major rebel bastion near the Leabanese border — and with it now in the hands of the government, rebel fighters have been forced to flee closer to Lebanese border cities such as Arsal. 

The Los Angeles Times, reporting from Arsal, notes the dismal outlook for the rebels in an interview with one of the many NGOs involved in Syria who said, "We have to be honest, it's getting worse and worse." 

The UN has called the conflict in Syria one of the biggest humanitarian and security crises in the world, and the European Union reiterated in a statement the need for a political settlement to aid the Syrian people. 

"The international community has a responsibility to bring [the Syrian conflict] to an end. The only solution to the crisis is a political one: the establishment of a transitional governing body, and a genuine Syrian-led inclusive political process to establish a democratic and pluralistic Syria."

With such a dire situation in Syria, why then, does there seem to be so much more interest in other regions with a lower casualty count, such as Ukraine? A writer for The Financial Times asked just that. 

Referring to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and lack of strong western interest compared to Ukraine, he says, "The moral of that story is that human suffering is not enough to command the undivided attention of the western media. We also have to feel that there is a risk that "We" (our nations, our neighbours) will be directly affected."

Amid the conflict, Syria will still be holding elections this year. Assad is expected to seek re-election.