America's Role in the Syrian Refugee Crisis and Civil War: An Introduction

Julia Sparkman
September 21, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Given the complexities inherent to the Syrian Civil War, it is difficult to navigate the United States’ involvement in the catastrophic acts that have displaced four million Syrian refugees and killed 200,000 others. The initial conflict started as an anti-regime uprising at the height of the Arab Spring. The insurgence has since transgressed into a convoluted network of multinational powers and agendas, rendering the web of responsibility nearly impossible to discern.

The recent escalation of tragedies involving the deaths of refugees seeking asylum in the E.U. has prompted increased attention and scrutinization of the Syrian conflict. Powerful discourse has highlighted the need for greater public awareness in regard to the covert U.S.-led intervention, especially as it relates to the implacable decline of Syrian civilian safety.

An abridged overview of U.S. involvement clearly demonstrates the United States’ role in exacerbating the Syrian refugee crisis and its implicit need to take far greater action beyond the acceptance of thousands of Syrian refugees:


Amid the United States’ War on Terror in the Middle East, the clash between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and anti-regime dissenters destabilized Syria, and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) used it as an opportunity to take control of territory and resources in the region. In Syria, members of AQI renamed themselves “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) and eventually removed themselves from al-Qaeda. As an independent faction, a heavily armed ISIS brutally fights the same Syrian oppositional forces currently battling Assad. Those attacks terrorize innocent Syrian civilians and are often carried out with American-made weapons. Official documents indicate ISIS’ intense dominance and threat to Syrians is largely due to the support the group has received from the U.S. and their allies.

U.S.-Led Airstrikes

Once ISIS grew out of the United States’ and allies’ control, U.S.-led airstrikes and drone attacks began against the insurgency. Often, these airstrikes kill civilians and obliterate precious resources. In spite of the danger and damage the U.S. has inflicted on Syrian daily life, the government has abandoned policy aiming to protect Syrian civilians and has no plans to compensate Syrians affected by airstrikes.

U.S. Oil Company “Exploration” of Syrian Oil

Many have speculated that oil is the United States’ motivation for its involvement in Syria — not ISIS.  As Anti-Media recently reported, “Afek, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Genie Energy, Ltd., announced the discovery of a large liquid oil reservoir and requested an extension of its exploration license for areas in ‘Northern Israel.’”

What Afek reported as “Northern Israel” is actually considered Syria’s Golan Heights under international law. Therefore, a U.S. company — led by appointees such as Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney — is currently pursuing oil in Syria during the deadliest civil war on the planet.

While it is hard to determine if U.S.-led attacks are actually aimed at ISIS or covertly designed as a proxy war to oust Assad, it is clear the U.S. is responsible for far more than the acceptance of the ten thousand or more refugees they will slowly welcome over the course of the next year.

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