The Arab Spring of 2011 that overthrew governments in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt continued to spread in 2012, where it has led to a violent civil war in Syria.
FOX News Radio’s Emily Wither looks back on 2012 in the war-torn country:
This has become the soundtrack of Syria’s revolution. What began as peaceful protests in 2011 is now a civil war. More than 40,000 people are dead, more than half a million have been forced to flee the country. Millions are displaced inside Syria, and it’s not over.
The Assad family has ruled for over 40 years. Bashar Assad, who took over from his father in 2000, still blames foreign conspirators.
(Assad) “The problem is not between me and the people, I don’t have a problem with the people. Because the United States is against me, the West is against me.”
Syria’s main cities have been rocked by suicide bombings, both sides pointing the finger at each other. The U.N. accusing the regime of deliberately targeting civilians – in one incident, 108 were shot in their homes, including 49 children.
As a journalist, I could only watch from the border in Turkey, at the many refugee camps.
(Wither Reporting) “This woman arrived nine days ago, after government forces attacked her at home. She doesn’t like staying in the camps, either. The kids here don’t sing nursery rhymes, they sing songs of the revolution they left behind.”
I also watched from Jordan’s borders.
(Wither Reporting) “Conditions are tough in this desert camp. The sand cakes people’s clothes, there’s nowhere to escape the harsh sun. There’s also not a lot to do.”
Nearly every Syrian I spoke to was angry the world was only watching their pain. Western powers have tried to seek U.N. Security Council action, but Russia and China veto the resolutions. Cease fires have failed, and the opposition is deeply divided. The conflict this year became increasingly militarized when outside countries started arming Syria’s rebels and foreign fighters began arriving to help. The fighting often spilling over the borders into Israel, Turkey and Jordan.
It also turned up the heat on sectarian tensions in Lebanon, where people have been forced to pick sides and protests are deadly. A new year bringing a new worry:
(Clinton) “Our concerns are that an increasingly desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons.”
Secretary Hillary Clinton also concerned that weapons may fall into hands of one of the many Islamic militant groups, now fighting alongside the rebels. Many believe it’s no longer a question of if Assad falls, but when. For Syria’s President, he says he’s going nowhere.
(Assad) “I was made in Syria, and I have to live in Syria and die in Syria.”
Two things are certain: The outcome will be felt throughout the Middle East, and it will be bloody.
Emily Wither, FOX News Radio