In March 2019, after recapturing the Jihadists’ last enclave Al-Baghuz Fawqani, Syrian Democratic Forces declared the end of caliphate. For eight years the Syrians had been familiarised with military uniforms of Syrian and Kurdish forces, anti-government squads, Jihadists, and foreign armies. The civil war turned into a proxy war in which the greatest regional and world powers have been involved.
Though seemingly unbeatable, The Islamic State had to engage in underground operations. This doesn’t mean it has been defeated. It still poses a threat, is responsible for attacks and subversive warfare, and brings destabilisation and chaos to the region.
However, now it’s Russia, Turkey and the United States that decide Syria’s future. The best example of the foreign armies’ dominance is air force: it basically crushed the anti-government rebellion, defeated the Islamic State, and made it possible to capture the Efrîn region that the Kurds lost to Turkey. Planes alone won’t suffice to win battles, but they give enormous advantage. However, they also turn buildings into rubble and decimate communities.
Almost every Syrian family – the young and the old, men and women - have been affected by the war. It has ruined their health, made them bury people closest to them, and destroyed their homes. It’s difficult for them to forget about the spilled blood.
Paweł Pieniążek, an experienced journalist and war correspondent, thoroughly describes how disappointing “Syrian spring” turned out to be. He shows us how quickly stability of everyday life can be undermined and how hard it is to rise after years of war and persecutions.
The completion of this book was possible thanks to the International Visegrad Fund, a benefactor of Visegrad Literary Residencies; visegradfund.org