A New Year of Syria’s Turmoil

As part of our collaboration with Syria Deeply we are cross-posting a series of articles that capture civilian voices caught in the crossfire, along with perspectives on the conflict from writers around the world. 

As the world celebrated the dawn of 2013, in Syria, the regime and the rebels were fighting for the suburbs of Damascus. President Bashar al Assad’s reportedly launched air raids that struck across the country, killing at least 160 people. Aleppo’s International Airport shut down, said AFP, reportedly after a rebel assault. The bottom line: more deadly fighting, with neither side really able to take control.

All the predictions for a new year in Syria have been bleak. Nearly 50,000 people have been killed to date; UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned another 100,000 people could lose their lives this year. Analysts say President Bashar al Assad could go on fighting for months. A round of voices, including rebels on the ground, tell us that even if the regime falls, it’s likely the fighting won’t stop.  There’s been too much bloodshed, weapons flooding the country, and religious rivalries – Sunni vs. Alawite – turning into active fault lines.

Courtesy of Shaam News Network and the Syrian Revolution Memory Project

In major cities, food and fuel are scarce, people are going hungry and freezing inside there homes. Syria’s social fabric has been torn to shreds. Brahimi himself warned of a failed state in Syria – hellish conditions, if there’s no solution soon.

There’s a flurry of diplomatic headlines: hope for UN peace deal, Russia and the Assad regime talking about talks. But the rebels are skeptical, to say the least – it’s hard to negotiate, when each side harbors no trust for the other.

The trends we saw in 2012 have carried over: diplomats and world powers keep talking, people in Syria keep dying, and the chaos on the ground keeps mounting – in ways that get harder and harder to eventually control.

On Twitter, Syrians spelled out their anxiousness in their New Year messages.

Sarina tweets:

@xxSxx_S: It's very upsetting knowing that #Syria will again be going into the new year the way it is and not peacefully like it used to :'(

@Psypherize shares this photograph from a protest in Syria. The banner reads [ar]: Wishing you a happy new year where your sons are not killed. Wishing your children warmth and bread

The 47th shares similar sentiments:

@THE_47th: Happy new year, Syria.. Happy new year defenseless mothers, fathers.. Men & women in the struggle.. You are everything.. We are nothing.

Rafif Jouejati adds:

@RafifJ: Happy New Year! Come to the Damascus Suburbs, where there are fireworks every day of the year. #Syria

And Sakhr notes:

: Excuse me if I don't celebrate a ‘happy’ new year. Save the party for when the war is over and Syria is free.

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