What is at stake for the Syrian regime and what could it mean for Western nations if the current government was removed from power? At the moment, the United Nations has stated that around 100,000 Syrian refuges have escaped the country due to an increase in air strikes by President Bashar al-Assad regime. So far, the rebels have reportedly taken control of Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, the northeastern areas of the country, and most recently an air force base. According to CNN, the Free Syrian Army has also succeeded in capturing the Air Defense battalion headquarters in Albu Kamal.
So if the current Syrian government were to fall, what would it mean for the country, the Middle East, and the West? There are several pros and cons to this scenario.
- The fall of the Assad regime could make way for elections that may produce a government that is both democratic and friendly to the West.
- A new Syrian government could mean one that would cease to co-operate with Iran. On September 5th, the New York Times reported that Iran has continued its shipping of military equipment to Syria in order to help the Assad government defeat the rebels.
- A post-Assad Syria would certainly weaken Iran, but would also enable Western nations to destroy the chemicals weapons arsenal that the country is reported to have. According to the Associated Press, France has warned Western nations that Syria would use their chemical or biological weapons if they were attacked from “outside” entities.
- We still would not know who the Free Syrian Army is. Who are these rebels and what principles do they stand for? Would they be in favor of a more democratic government or one that is radical and similar to the Muslim Brotherhood?
- The removal of the Assad regime could leave a vacuum in Syria thus leading to the possibility of increased influence from Iran.
- If a democratic election were to eventually occur in Syria, the result could be similar to that of Egypt in which a government similar to the Muslim Brotherhood or the Taliban would have the possibility of being elected. Such a government would most likely not be friendly to Western nations.
The civil war in Syria has been intensifying in the last few weeks as more air strikes are coming from Assad’s army. It seems that the Syrian army is attacking not only the rebels but civilians as well. Human Rights Watch reported that the Syrian government army had bombed around “10 bakeries in Aleppo” killing several civilians including children. On the other hand, the rebels have recently warned that they will target civilian airports in order to stop the flow of weapons into Syria from China and Russia. If the Assad regime is deposed, such an event would hopefully give Syrians an opportunity to create a better future.