Moscow and Washington recently brokered a cease-fire in Syria, dramatically decreasing the violence in the region and giving hope that a solution to the five-year civil war is possible.
While artillery shelling incidents, airstrikes, and clashes are still occurring daily in Syria, the partial truce on Saturday, February 27 has reduced overall violence across Syria considerably. The cease-fire exludes any areas held by ISIS and the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, so much of the continued violence is not a breach of the cease-fire.
The first few hours following the cease-fire agreement saw a considerable drop in military operations, while Russia landed its warplanes and the Syrian government landed helicopters that drop barrel bombs on opposition-held areas.
According to Britain’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, violence has decreased by 90 percent since the cease-fire. About 118 people died in areas within the cease-fire in the first five days following the agreement, a dramatic drop from the daily toll before the cease-fire. The organization reported a death toll of 12 people in Syria on Thursday, March 3—the lowest daily death toll in about 13 months.
Unfortunately, the cease-fire has failed to help facilitate the flow of aid supplies to war-ridden areas of Syria.
“Fewer Syrians may be dying in bomb attacks but they are still facing starvation,” Henrietta McMicking of opposition advocacy group The Syria Campaign said, according to CBS News.
The United Nations planned to deliver assistance to about 154,000 Syrians in early March, but only a small amount of that aid was delivered. The United Nations’ Syria envoy’s humanitarian aid adviser Jan Egeland commented that aid shipments were unable to be delivered due to logistical issues, while United Nations officials blamed a shortage of available trucks and trouble gaining approval from Syrian government officials.
The truce in Syria would need to be sustained for weeks or even months in order for Syrians to stop fleeing and refugees to consider returning to the country.
The Syrian refugee crisis is a major issue for Millennials. About 53 percent of Millennials say that the United States should accept refugees from foreign conflicts like Syria, according to a USA Today/Rock The Vote poll. Democratic Millennials support accepting refugees by more than 65 percent, while a majority of Republicans oppose the idea. About 45 percent of Democratic Millennials oppose deploying ground forces to fight terrorist groups like ISIS.