The humanitarian disaster gripping Syria has once again become a point of global tension: Donald Trump has vowed to retaliate “militarily” against a recent alleged chemical weapons attack that some blame on the Syrian government. Russia has warned the US not to strike. Iran, meanwhile, is threatening to launch its own attack in response to a Monday airstrike on a Syrian military base, which it says was carried out by Israel.
The war in Syria, which started as a civil uprising against president Bashar al-Assad’s regime in 2011, has since attracted a variety of international players. All have contributed to the rising death toll, although regime troops and their backers claimed the greatest number of civilian deaths by far, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a non-profit that tracks war casualties. More than 200,000 civilians have been killed overall.
The conflict has driven millions of people from their homes, including from Douma, site of the past weekend’s alleged chemical weapons attack. Tens of thousands of people are expected to abandon the Damascus suburb. Some are rebels, but others are civilians caught in the crossfire.
The brutal tallies of death and refugees will rise if the fighting intensifies.