Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Were chemical weapons used by Assad's army in the Syrian Civil War?

{{{Photo from NY Daily News}}}

The Syrian Civil War began in 2011 when a series of protests around the country led to the formation of rebel armies meant to overthrow the dictator of Syria, Bashar al Assad. Anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 people have died in the fighting. Millions of refugees have been forced to leave the country.

Initially the United States, under Barack Obama, tried to avoid involvement in this conflict. Later, the Obama administration began to support various rebel armies in their attempt to overthrow Assad. It is hard to understand what Trump's policy might now be - he seemed willing to support a Russian plan to keep Assad in power while eliminating ISIS and negotiating with other rebel groups to stop fighting.

The latest development concerns allegations that Assad's government attacked a city controlled by rebels with chemical weapons. Russia and Assad deny this. Hopefully this latest act of horror will not cause this war to escalate.

Below is an article from the BBC about this latest situation. 

Vocabulary from the above passage:

a protest - when groups of people gather publicly to express disapproval of some government policy or action.

a rebel group/army - a group or army opposed to the established government.

a dictator - one person who controls or dominates the government.

refugees - people forced to leave their own country due to war or some other horrible situation.

allegations - claims that something wrong has occurred.

to escalate - to get worse.

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

fury (uncountable) - extreme anger

UN Security Council - an organization at the United Nations which is supposed to help ensure peace in the world.

an ally - a friend

pledged - promised

a monitoring group - a group that is supposed to watch what happens

choking - not being able to breathe

foaming at the mouth - lots of small bubbles due to the reaction between poisonous air and internal bodily fluids

to feel dizzy - not to feel stable, to feel as if you are going to fall down

symptoms - evidence of some type of disease or physical problem

neurotoxic - harmful to brain cells

to launch an attack - to make an attack or begin an attack

a depot - an area where things are stored

militants - fighters, soldiers

aviation - air planes

made a strike on - dropped bombs on or shot missiles at

munitions - stuff to be shot out of guns or dropped from planes, ammunition

making a mockery of the peace process - making a joke out of the peace process, not taking the peace process seriously, showing contempt for the peace process

brokered - negotiated

senseless - if something is senseless there is no reason for it

to impose sanctions on - if a country has sanctions imposed on it, other countries might not trade with that country or be allowed to interact with it

obsessed with - completely and totally focused on

a UN Security Council resolution - an order to do something issued by the Security Council

to be staged - if something did not really happen, but people made it look as if it happened, it has been staged

a false narrative - a false story

to deflect attention from - to deflect something means to push it to the side

hinting - not saying something directly but implying something, suggesting something

unilateral action - action by the USA alone

to be compelled to do something - to feel forced to do something

an array - a grouping

broadly aligned groups - groups agreeing with each other in general terms

fanciful - like a fantasy, not real

unsustainable - in this case, not provable

an affront - an insult

subsequently - afterwards

internally displaced - no longer living in their own homes

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