Recently I have seen a gradual increase in calls for a ‘Libyan-style uprising’ in Syria - advocating sending in drones and cruise missiles and providing the undefined Syrian ‘opposition’ with weapons, money and military advisors.
There seems to be quite a few people who are either extremely ignorant of the realities, or amazingly callous in their pronouncements.
First, let’s look at population.
Libya’s population is about 6,500,000, and about half of the population lives in Libya’s five largest cities:
Tripoli - population ~1,250,000
Benghazi - population ~700,000
Misrata - population ~350,000
Bayda - population ~250,000
Zawiya - population ~200,000
Syria’s population is about 23,000,000, and a little less than half of the population lives in Syria’s five largest cities:
Damascus - population ~1,250,000 / metro population ~4,500,000
Aleppo - population ~2,500,000
Homs - population ~1,300,000 / metro population ~1,800,000
Latakia - population ~650,000 / metro population ~1,250,000
Hama - population ~700,000
Now, let’s look at how big these countries are.
Libya is 1,759,541 square kilometers (679,359 square miles) big, which is a little bigger than Alaska.
Almost all of Libya’s population lives spread out along Libya’s 1,770 kilometer (1,100 mile) long Mediterranean coast, an area of say about 180,000 square kilometers.
Syria is 185,180 square kilometers (71,479 square miles) big, which is about as big as Washington State (or North Dakota, or Oklahoma, or Missouri).
Almost all of Syria’s population lives in the western half (maybe third) of Syria, an area smaller than Indiana.
So there are about three and a half times as many people in Syria as there are in Libya. Living in an area which is about half the size of the area where most of the population of Libya lives.
In Libya about one percent of the population were killed or seriously wounded, about 60,000, and at least 12 percent of the population, about 800,000, fled the country during the bombing and fighting.
So let’s put aside the fact that Syria neighbors Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Israel; and that there are many, many times more soldiers, weapons, tanks and military aircraft in Syria than in Libya; and that Bashar al-Assad is supported by a large number of people in Syria; and that the Syrians are particularly sensitive about being bombed by other countries.
Let’s discuss a ‘Libyan-style uprising’ in Syria just by the numbers. The population density of Syria is much greater than that of Libya, and as a result the percentage of dead and wounded would most probably be higher, as would be the percentage of refugees.
But even if the percentages were the same, there would be about a quarter of a million dead and wounded in Syria and about three million refugees if there were a ‘Libyan-style uprising’ in Syria.
So by all means let’s do have a ‘Libyan-style uprising’ in Syria and you, you callous ignorant jerks who advocate such an event, can all watch it on TV from the comfort of your living rooms while congratulating yourselves for 'supporting freedom and democracy' in Syria.