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GSU Students Weigh in on Syrian Conflict

Barack Obama Takes a Step Back in Syria Speech

By Nesreen Ballut
On October 6, 2013

President Barack Obama holds off on U.S. intervention in Syria urging Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad to surrender all chemical weapons during his UN speech on September 24.

Accusations that the Syrian government's usage of chemical weapons on civilians have, in response, led to international involvement. The United Nations has confirmed the usage of chemical weapons in Syria but have not been able to target who is
responsible for the attack.

In his speech to the U.N. Obama states that he believes with 'high confidence' that the Syrian regime is responsible for the chemical attack. However, Assad has indicated that the chemical weapons have not been used by the government but rather by rebel groups within Syria.

President Obama declares if the Syrian government does not relinquish chemical weapons, a military strike will occur. The strike may create a backlash against the U.S. and its allies and lead to sustained U.S. military obligation in Syria as seen in past interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the 2011 Arab Spring uprising in Egypt and Tunisia, Syrian protesters, now known as the Syrian rebels, were motivated to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with Assad's regime urging a democratic reform within the region. Capturing the attention of the international community, the situation escalated from diplomatic protests to conflict.

The office of United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees reported that over 100,000 civilians were killed in Syria and two million reported refugees have fled Syria since the turmoil began. Rebel fighters from all across the Middle East joined anti-Assad Syrian insurgents making the civil war scene unclear to many as to what is really going on in the region.

One hundred students were surveyed at Governors State University on the current situation. With 29% for intervention, 52% against intervention and 19% that don't know, we decided to take a closer look as to why these conclusions were reached.

First in a two-part series. Watch the Phoenix online for academic perspectives on the U.S. role in Syria.

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