More than 110,000 people dead. Seven million individuals displaced from their homes. Three and a half million child refugees. Multiple assaults with chemical weapons.
These are the grim statistics that define the Syrian conflict. What began as peaceful demonstrations on March 15, 2011 has devolved into a human tragedy of epic proportions that has stymied the international community.
How to end the brutal civil war is far from evident. This, at least, was the dismal conclusion of experts who discussed the conflict at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. “The Syrian Tragedy: Ending the Bloodshed” was moderated by Meghan O’Sullivan, Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at HKS.
Frederic Hof, a senior fellow with at the Atlantic Council, noted that a political situation, while possible, is not likely under current circumstances. “According to the US and the EU, the only way forward is a negotiated settlement,” said Hof. “But Russia and Syria aren’t buying it.”
“It’s too soon to tell if Assad is a winner or loser” after the proposed chemical weapons deal, said Mona Yacoubian MPA 1989, a senior adviser at the Stimson Center.
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