Russian MiniLessons: Civil War in Syria

The Syrian Civil War has reduced many of that country's cities to rubble.

The <strong>сирийский</strong> <strong>кризис</strong> (Syrian crisis) is a conflict between <strong>п</strong><strong>овстанцы</strong> (rebels) who are seeking to <strong>свергнуть</strong> <strong>правительство</strong> (oust the government) and <strong>проправительственные</strong> <strong>силы</strong> (pro-government forces). The crisis has now devolved into a <strong>гражданская</strong> <strong>война</strong> <strong>в</strong> <strong>Сирии</strong> (сivil war in Syria). The <strong>беспорядки</strong> (unrest) in Syria is recognized as part of the so-called <strong>Арабская</strong> <strong>весна</strong> (Arab spring) movement.

The <strong>протестное</strong> <strong>движение</strong> (protest movement) in Syria started in March 2011 with <strong>демонстрации</strong> <strong>против</strong> <strong>правительства</strong> (demonstrations against the government). These <strong>протестующие</strong><strong>, </strong><strong>требующие</strong> <strong>отставки</strong> <strong>Башара</strong> <strong>А</strong><strong>c</strong><strong>ада</strong> (protesters demanding the resignation of President al-Assad) denounce him for <strong>нарушения</strong> <strong>прав</strong> <strong>человека</strong> (human rights violations) and <strong>пытки</strong> (torture). Eventually, the protesters <strong>подняли</strong> <strong>оружие</strong> <strong>против</strong> <strong>правительства</strong> (took up arms against the government). Some <strong>офицеры</strong><strong>-</strong><strong>перебежчики</strong> (defected military officers) joined the opposition forces. The <strong>бунт</strong> (uprising) or <strong>восстание</strong> (rebellion) <strong>обострялся</strong> (has escalated), with the Syrian Army using <strong>танки</strong> (tanks), <strong>артиллерия</strong> (artillery), <strong>бомбы</strong> (bombs), and even, some say, <strong>химическое</strong> <strong>оружие</strong> (chemical weapons) against <strong>силы</strong> <strong>оппозиции</strong> (opposition forces). <strong>Группировки</strong> <strong>повстанцев</strong> (insurgent groups) have formed a <strong>коалиция</strong> (coalition), which consists of <strong>исламистские</strong> <strong>группировки</strong> (Islamic groups) and <strong>Хезболла</strong> (Hezbollah).

Recently, <strong>борьба</strong> <strong>обострилась</strong> (the fighting has intensified), and the <strong>количество</strong> <strong>погибших</strong> (death toll) has grown, especially <strong>жертвы</strong> <strong>среди</strong> <strong>мирного</strong> <strong>населения</strong> (civilian casualties). After <strong>химическое</strong> <strong>оружие</strong> (chemical weapons) were used, some <strong>члены</strong><strong>, </strong><strong>обладающие</strong> <strong>правом</strong> <strong>вето</strong> (veto-wielding members) of the <strong>Совет</strong> <strong>Безопасности</strong> <strong>ООН</strong> (UN Security Council) requested more severe measures towards Syria than the <strong>политические</strong><strong>/</strong><strong>экономические</strong> <strong>санкции</strong> (political/economic) sanctions that were currently in force.

So far, <strong>переговоры</strong> (negotiations) on the Syrian crisis have not produced any positive outcome, except for the occasional <strong>прекращение</strong> <strong>огня</strong> (ceasefire). Some countries have <strong>поставляли</strong> <strong>оружие</strong> (supplied weapons) to the rebels, while others <strong>оказывают</strong> <strong>поддержку</strong> <strong>правительству</strong> <strong>Асада</strong> (support Assad’s government). Because of the Syrian crisis, the <strong>двусторонние</strong> <strong>отношения</strong> (bilateral relationship) between Russia and the USA has deteriorated. Russia highly values its relationship with Syria, partly because of the fact that Russia’s only <strong>военная</strong> <strong>база</strong> <strong>в</strong> <strong>Средиземном</strong> <strong>море</strong> (Mediterranean naval base) is located in Syria. Also, Russia has a well-established <strong>торговые</strong> <strong>отношения</strong> (trade relationship) with Syria.

<strong>США</strong> <strong>заявляют</strong> (the USA announced) that it felt<strong>, </strong><strong>что</strong> <strong>Башар</strong> <strong>Асад</strong> <strong>должен</strong> <strong>уйти</strong> (that Bashar Assad must go)<strong>, </strong>and that <strong>с</strong> <strong>Асадом</strong> <strong>никакие</strong> <strong>переговоры</strong> <strong>не</strong> <strong>будут</strong> <strong>вестись</strong> (no negotiations will be conducted with Assad). Some in US government also <strong>требуется</strong> <strong>внешнее</strong> <strong>вооруженное</strong> <strong>вмешательство</strong> (demand outside military intervention).The United States has been supporting rebel groups by providing them with weapons. <strong>Россия</strong> <strong>и</strong> <strong>Китай</strong><strong>, </strong><strong>напротив</strong><strong>, </strong><strong>заявляют</strong><strong>, </strong><strong>что</strong> <strong>насилие</strong> <strong>нужно</strong> <strong>прекратить</strong> <strong>через</strong> <strong>политический</strong> <strong>диалог</strong> <strong>двух</strong> <strong>воюющих</strong> <strong>сторон</strong> <strong>без</strong> <strong>вмешательства</strong> <strong>извне</strong> (Russia and China, on the other hand, state that the violence should be stopped through political dialogue between the two sides in conflict, without outside interference).

To avoid outside military intervention, Russia has proposed that Syria turn over their chemical weapons to <strong>международные</strong> <strong>наблюдатели</strong> (international monitors) in several stages. First, Syria should <strong>присоединиться</strong> <strong>к</strong> <strong>Организации</strong> <strong>по</strong> <strong>запрещению</strong> <strong>химического</strong> <strong>оружия</strong> (join the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons). Then, the Syrian government should <strong>задекларировать</strong> <strong>все</strong> <strong>места</strong> <strong>хранения</strong> <strong>и</strong> <strong>производства</strong> <strong>отравляющих</strong> <strong>газов</strong> (disclose all sites used for storing and manufacturing poisonous gases). Finally, <strong>Сирия</strong> <strong>должна</strong> <strong>пустить</strong> <strong>на</strong> <strong>свою</strong> <strong>территорию</strong> <strong>инспекторов</strong> <strong>Организации</strong> <strong>по</strong> <strong>запрещению</strong> <strong>химического</strong> <strong>оружия</strong> (Syria must allow inspectors from the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to come), and then, <strong>решить</strong><strong>, </strong><strong>кто</strong> <strong>займется</strong> <strong>уничтожением</strong> <strong>запасов</strong> <strong>химоружия</strong> (decide who will deal with destroying the arsenals of chemical weapons). Leaders of many countries have viewed this proposal favorably and the US approved of it. The adoption of the plan was seen by many as a great diplomatic win for Russia and Vladimir Putin personally.

<em>Wikipedia was consulted while preparing this text.</em>