Violence Continues in Syria

Violence Continues in Syria

Three people were killed in an armed conflict between Kurdish Police and Islamic State fighters in a northeastern Syria refugee camp.

An IS sleeper cell was apparently operating in a camp that mostly houses IS widows and orphans. Kurdish police said the agents attacked and they fought back in self-defense. After the fighting, the Asayish (Kurdish police) cordoned off the area and imposed a curfew in the camp. A monitoring group said the three fatalities were a child, a woman, and an IS fighter.

This attack came on the heels of a similar IS operation against a Hassakeh prison. Almost 500 people died during ten days of fighting between the U.S.-backed fighters and IS militants.

War in Syria

In one sense, the current Syrian Civil War goes back to 2011. A few years earlier, Arab Spring protests began against longtime dictators in Arab countries. Some strongment, like Libya’s Muhammar Qaddafi and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, were forced from office almost immediately. Others hung on for a while but eventually left. For a while, it looked like Syrian strongman Bashar Assad would be in that latter group.

Initially, Assad clung to power. It also looked like Assad would comply with a power-sharing agreement hammered out by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. But that fell apart, as Islamic militants began vying for a piece of the war-torn country. That escalation prompted U.S. intervention, and that escalation prompted Russian intervention. For a brief time, it appeared the escalation would continue, and no one was sure where it would stop.

Islamic State militants suffered a major setback in 2017, so the CIA began backing away from Syria. In the meantime, the Russians doubled down. SInce then, a stalemate has arisen. Russian-backed Syrian forces control most of the west, Kurdhish militants control most of the east, Turks control most of the north, and U.S-backed rebels control a few pockets here and there.

However, like so many other Middle Eastern conflicts, the Syrian Civil War has very deep roots. The seeds of this conflict may have been planted in 1916. Although World War I still raged in Europe, and the outcome was far from certain, France and Great Britain already had their eyes on the spoils of victory.

That year, representatives from both countries signed a secret pact, later known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The British and French agreed to divide the Ottoman Empire’s Middle Eastern territories into spheres of influence. The French controlled the north and the British controlled the south. What later became Syria basically straddled this line. In other words, Syria has been at war with itself since before this country even existed

Rebuilding in Syria

It looks like U.S.-backed rebels have lost the Syrian Civil War. But, these groups still have a chance to win the peace. Bitter experience in Vietnam and elsewhere has taught the United States that winning the peace is much more important than winning the war. So, the endgame is still undecided in Syria.

During earlier stages of the war, contractors fought alongside rebels and helped ensure that the Syrian government forces did not completely overwhelm them. As a result, the rebels still have a seat at the table. The more efficiently contractors rebuild Syria, the closer to the front of the room this seat becomes.

The Syrian Civil War created millions of refugees. These individuals will not come back until they feel safe and everyday life is somewhat normal. These two areas are also the areas where contractors excel the most.

Now that the heated combat is over, security does not mean prolonged firefights. Instead, security usually means deterrence. Many private military contractors are former police officers. These individuals know a thing or two about deterrence. Stateside, squad cars on patrol often suppress criminal activity. The same principle applies in Syria. But instead of a patrol car, deterrence usually means a few armed contractors on a street corner. Militants think twice about committing violent acts when they see something like that.

Security also means building relationships with locals to prevent trouble. People who feel comfortable with contractors are often willing to share what they know about militant activity. If heightened deterrence is necessary at a certain place and time, contractors have the flexibility to provide it.

As for rebuilding, everyday normalcy means going to work at an office, sending the kids to school, and going to a hospital when you need medical care. Therefore, rebuilding efforts usually stress large, capital projects. Infrastructure, like roads and electricity, is important as well.

Local residents are usually willing to pitch in, especially if the building firm pays relatively high wages. But a can-do worker attitude, while important, does not ensure that the project is finished on time and under budget. Overseas contractors usually shoulder this responsibility.

These two areas overlap. Rebuilding provides security. It is easy to hide in bombed-out buildings, but harder to hide in developed structures. Rebuilding needs security. IS militants would love to sabotage these projects if they could. Such efforts destabilize the area. They are also powerful recruiting tools. No one wants to keep fighting this war. Therefore, contractor rebuilding and security is essential.

Injury Compensation Available

When these contractors are injured overseas, whether they are carrying machine guns or clipboards, they must deal with sky-high medical bills. These expenses include:

  • Emergency care,
  • Hospitalization,
  • Follow-up medical care,
  • Physical and/or occupational therapy, and
  • Ancillary expenses, like transportation, medical devices, and prescription drugs.

The Defense Base Act covers all these expenses, as long as they are reasonably necessary. That “reasonably necessary” requirement gives insurance company lawyers a chance to refute these charges.

PTSD treatments are a good example. This brain injury is extremely common. Trauma, like a car crash or a firefight, alters brain chemistry. Since PTSD is a chemical injury, it has a chemical solution. However, many insurance company adjusters only approve physical therapy. Therapy is important, but it cannot do the job alone.

PTSD chemical treatments are cutting edge and therefore very expensive. Attorneys advocate for victims in these situations, so they get the help they need, instead of the help an adjuster is willing to pay for.

To learn more about the DBA process, contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A.