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SYRIA – IF YOU DON’T KNOW, NOW YOU KNOW

Street wear brand, spreading knowledge to the street. Here at AC we love to express knowledge through art and design, so have a read and get familiar..

The history of Syria and what is currently taking place in the region has inspired us to create a tribute design called camo spring. The camo background to the Arabic text symbolises the years of conflict and guerrilla warfare taken place in Syria and the middle East. The Average person isn’t privy to the details and complexities of the Syrian civil war. The perception of the uniformed is that it’s just another group of Muslim terrorists reeking havoc. Let them get on with their business and let me get back to the E channel!! Well let me assure you that was has played out in Syria is fit for any fiction Hollywood film and quite mind blowing to say the least. To put things into perspective you need to know who is running the country and why civil unrest has broken out, where civillians have been forced to employ guerrilla style tactics to defend themselves against different factions in the country.

Syria is made up of 60% Sunni Muslims and 12% Shi’ite Muslims and have been in conflict and disagreement since the founding of the religion by Mohammed in the seventh century. For those unsure of the difference between these two factions of Islam the short and simple answer to a very convoluted division is that they are two groups of the same religion that disagree on theology illustrated through violence on one another.

Now that you know that..

The Syrian government is run by the Ba’ath party, they are Shi’te Muslims and some bad mother fuckers. Apart from reports that they have used chemical weapons on their own people, to say they’ve ruled with an iron fist is an understatement. Hafez Al-Assad took power in 1970 setting ruthless policies, massacring civilians and being an all out Badass tyrant.  Responsible for the ‘Hama massacre’ to suppress the uprising of Sunni Muslims, it left tens of thousands dead.  The minority Shi’ite’s were running the country and the majority Sunnis were suffering at their hands, so it isn’t hard to understand the resentment towards the Ba’ath party and its leaders. This is something that would brew for decades and now the pressure cooker has culminated with what we are seeing today, civil war infecting the whole country.

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Just to add to the Hollywood script Hafez Al-Assad had a brother just as ruthless as he. When Hafez fell ill in 1983 his brother Rifaat vice president at the time attempted to take over the country leaving Hafez off his committee. Rifaat had a whole army numbering 55,000 behind him. As you could imagine this didn’t go down too well with good old Hafez, so the shit storm began..Don’t worry the expendables are on their way! Seriously though..this resulted in a bitter fued between the two brothers exemplified through the Latakia protests in 1999 where hundreds of Rifaat’s supporters were arrested and two were killed. It has even been reported that a meeting between Rifaat, Hafez and their mother took place in order to resolve the brothers issues. Rifaat never came into power and was essentially exiled from the country. He is now living in a 10 million pound home in Mayfair.  Hafez died a year later and his son Al-Bashar Assad now reigns supreme. Take a second to process.. could you imagine if this debacle took place in the US. Like it to Romney being president and the mormon minorty fucking shit up on the Christian majority. Or Obama had an evil brother trying to overthrow him while he lay sick in the whitehouse. You couldn’t make this shit up.. it’s more likely Obama was born in Kenya and Donald Trump is a love child to a human female and a orangutang (Bill Maher fans know what’s up).

Free Syrian Army fighters sit in a house on the outskirts of Aleppo

Free Syrian Army fighters ready for battle. Photo extracted from the guardian UK

This brings us to present day where Bashar Al-Assad is running the show and civil war is reeking throughout the whole of Syria. Conflict began on the 15th of March 2011 and initially was aimed towards the regime. As it has progressed to present day the disposition of the conflict has become sectarian. So basically where the aim was to overthrow the government it has now become a game of thrones within Syria against different ethnic and religious groups. Some of these groups have been labelled Islamist extremists. The main force and opposition is the Free Syrian Army (FSA) made up of defected soldiers from the Syrian army who’s purpose is to protect civilians against the government. Again using the US as an example, imagine half the military switching sides and banding together to fight the government, its unfathomable. As well as the official Syrian army the government use an unofficial militia called the Shabiha to do their dirty work. They’re responsible for many civilian deaths as well as breaking up protests, often more than not through violence. The US has designated them a terrorist organization so they’re nothing to fool with.

As the days, weeks and months go by the violence doesn’t seem to be quelling with reports the government has used chemical weapons on its own people just an example of the chaos that continues to ensue in the region. According to the UN the death toll hit 70,000 in February. A huge concern that has world leaders on edge is that if the government is overthrown there is a long line of Islamic extremist groups vying for the throne all resembling the lannisters and none like the Starks (Game of thrones fans will know what I’m talking about). So next time you see Syria on the news don’t change the channel, stay tuned and witness the twists to an unwandering plot fit for the movies.

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