Can the West Help Syrians? Yes.

Slate's online video magazine.
March 21 2013 6:34 PM

What Syria Needs From Us

Two years since the Syrian uprising began, the West continues its handwringing.

164058911
Syrian children look out from a hole in a wall during a funeral ceremony Tuesday of a Syrian army soldier who was killed as he tried to defect, in Azmarin village, in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

This month marks the second anniversary of the uprising in Syria. Fighting between opposition and government forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad has left 70,000 people dead and a tide of more than 1 million refugees. The escalation of violence has inevitably raised more questions about intervention by the U.S. and its allies.
 
Carne Ross, a former British foreign service officer who now runs the nonprofit diplomatic advisory group Independent Diplomat, says the challenge for the international community in Syria has overtones of an earlier bloody ethnic conflict in Bosnia but is in some ways more problematic. Yet, he argues in our latest episode of The World Decrypted that there are options for the outside world to consider.

Underlining the challenges of supplying armed groups on the ground in Syria, a top U.S. general said this week that the U.S. understanding of rebel groups was “opaque” one year ago and is even worse now. This analysis of some of those groups suggests one reason.

Amnesty International has collected evidence of atrocities committed by both rebel and government forces in Syria.

Advertisement

What might outsiders do to help those fighting government violence? Here’s the list of nonviolent strategies Carne outlines in the video, compiled by a group of pro-democracy activists about a year ago. Carne also teases out these and other ideas in this article. What’s more, Human Rights First has called for disruption of arms supplies to Assad’s government.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.