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article imageU.S. intervention is worsening Syria's conflict and helping ISIS Special

By Shawn Carrié     Feb 1, 2015 in World
Damascus - U.S. President Barack Obama has called for more forceful intervention in the Syrian conflict — but groups on the ground say that America's misguided actions aren't just not helping — they're making things worse.
As Kurdish YPG forces liberated the embattled border city of Kobani after 134 days of siege by Islamic State fighters, the Pentagon unveiled plans this month to provide weapons and military training to "moderate" Syrian rebels trying clawing their way through a battle on all fronts.
President Obama used his State of the Union speech to call for more authorization from Congress to use military force against Daesh.
"We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies," President Obama said in his January 20 speech. American-led coalition airstrikes have already killed over 6,000 of the Islamic State – a significant portion of the group's fighting force.
Now, reports from human rights groups show that the U.S.' "unilateral action" is doing little to save innocent civilians, and is likely to exacerbate the bitter conflict – now entering its fourth year, with no end in sight.
Of the 1,354 deaths documented by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) this January, Assad regime forces accounted for the majority of civilian deaths, killing 883 people, including 207 children and 54 women. 129 rebel fights were also killed by government forces. Extremist groups account for less than ten percent of killings in Syria, with Daesh claiming 54 civilian lives and 53 fighters, and Jabhat al-Nusra killing 11 people, according to SNHR's January report.
Syria's civil war has already claimed over 191,000 lives since 2011, and sent scores of refugees pouring into Lebanon, Egypt and Europe, often in risky and dangerous ways.
Fadel Abdulghany, founder of SNHR, denounced Western countries' disregard for the humanitarian situation in Syria, pointing to his organization's 30 per cent tally of women and children casualties as "a clear indication of the purposed targeting of civilians by governmental forces."
While U.S. officials touted the results of its airstrikes against the Islamic State, foreign military intervention may be hastening defectors to Daesh and worsening the situation on the ground, according to reports by The Guardian.
The Assad regime, angered by unauthorized coalition strikes in its airspace, has stepped up its own bombing campaign on Syrian cities, and may even be pushing fighters from the constellation of hostile factions to join the only group with the ambition to seize total control of the country – the Islamic State.
Though SNHR's statistics find it guilty of only a portion of the massacres plaguing Syria, the intensifying focus on Daesh extolled by U.S. officials in both rhetoric and policy has started to garner sympathy among some Syrians.
“All the locals here wonder why the U.S. coalition never came to rescue them from Assad’s machine guns, but ran to fight Daesh when it took a few pieces of land," said Abu Zeid, commander of a Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigade near Idlib, in Syria's northwestern Aleppo province. "We were in a robust fight against the Islamic State for confiscating our liberated areas, but now, if we are not in an alliance, we are in a truce with them,” Zeid said.
“We did not get any weapons from the U.S. to fight the regime for the last three years – only now do U.S. weapons arrive for fighting Daesh,” FSA fighter Omar Waleed told The Guardian.
The Free Syrian Army's strength has diminished significantly as the war drags on. In addition to battling other rebel and extremist groups for control and influence over Syrian territory, the FSA has also had to fight for its dwindling reputation, amid mistrust that foreign support has turned its members into foreign agents, compromising their credibility among Syrians.
In September 2014, the remnants of its central command refused to join a coalition with the U.S.-backed al-Hazzem Movement to fight against the Islamic State on the ground, although the group has accepted weapons and training from the U.S. to fight on their own. "If they want to see the FSA on their side, they should give assurances on toppling the Assad regime, and on a plan that includes revolutionary principles," said Colonel Riad al-Asaad of the FSA.
Military intervention has, up until this point, proved hopelessly unsuccessful at bringing the civil war to any kind of peaceful resolution. Inserting more violence and weaponry would likely add more fuel to the fiery quagmire of the Syrian conflict, and send the region spiraling away from peace and further into a self-repeating cycle of warfare.
Noting the devastating results of ISIS' seizure of American tanks and heavy artillery in Mosul, Iraq in June 2014, journalist Abby Martin said: "What politicians never seem to understand is that when they bomb any human being, it leaves behind not only dead bodies – but widows, children, and parents – leading to countless more radicalized to join the fight against whatever force that killed their family."
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