Government attacks on Syrian civil war

City of Aleppo invaded by deadly chemical weapons that injure several residents, children

When Gary Johnson, a presidential candidate for this year’s elections, was asked what he would do about Aleppo, he followed with a question many of us had: what is Aleppo?

Aleppo is Syria’s largest city and is currently being torn apart by fighting between the government and rebels. The rebels want the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, out of office because of his violation of human rights and his favoritism towards those who benefit him. There has been fighting between the rebels and government since 2011, it was in July of 2012 that fighting began in Aleppo. The government came to Aleppo to force out the rebels within the city and started bombing the city. After this initial bombing, the fighting has not yet ceased. The government has continued to use barrel bombs on the city in order to run the rebels out of the east side of Aleppo. Barrel bombs are explosives made with gasoline, chunks of metal and nails that are used by the Syrian Army.

On Sept. 6, there was an attack on Aleppo that changed the tide of the civil war. The Syrian government dropped chlorine bombs on the city that sent at least 120 people to the hospital. Activist Aref al-Aref described the scene by saying it had smelled like a swimming pool had dropped down on them. Many people had trouble breathing and were sent into coughing fits. Chlorine as a weapon is banned under international conventions, but Syria has ignored the UN and continued to use it in their weapons. These weapons allowed the government to remove many rebels from the city. The U.S. and Russia have started talks about a ceasefire since this attack. The U.S. is in favor of the moderate rebels because of al-Assad’s policies and human rights violations. Russia is in favor of al-Assad because of the money it makes from the Syrian Army, and they do not like the idea of Western powers coming in.

However, these are not the only chemical weapons Syria has used on their people. The Syrian-American Medical Society has stated that there have been at least 161 reported chemical attacks on the Syrian people. The main chemical used has been one called sarin gas. Sarin gas is a clear colorless, odorless liquid that can be evaporated and spread through the air quickly. The effects of the deadly gas lead to muscle and heart spasms that lead to asphyxiation within minutes.

All of these attacks have driven the city into turmoil. More than 100,000 people have died since the civil war started in 2011, and many are asking when it will end. Many will recognize the image of the boy in the ambulance, 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh. He was in the city of Aleppo on Aug. 17 after an airstrike. Eight people died that day from the airstrike. His brother, Ali, died three days later. While a ceasefire went into effect on Monday and peace talks are being planned, it is clear that it will take much more to bring this broken city back together again.

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