Is the crisis in Ukraine a greater threat to Western security than the Syrian civil war?

Houses were destroyed by Syrian government forces air strikes in Aleppo, Syria on Monday. The crisis in Ukraine has eclipsed the world's focus on Syria and some experts warn this is dangerous since Syria is a bigger threat to Western security. (AP/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

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The latest news includes talk of U.S. sanctions against Kremlin officials over Ukraine while Western nations are mostly silent on the carnage in Syria. Ukraine has eclipsed Syria in the focus of Western world leaders and in the public eye and today we're asking why.

"People are searching for survivors under the rubble in the aftermath of a barrel bomb attack in Aleppo . The government has intensified its air raids across the country. Rebels say this is all that remains of a barrel bomb that exploded in the town of Qasaita. Activists say the bombs were filled with toxic chemicals."

From an Al Jazeera report

Syrians don't need any reminders of how lethal their civil war has become, but the report above from earlier this month might surprise many Canadians overwhelmed by the news from Ukraine.

Each day brings fresh headlines about the conflict in the former Soviet republic: Other Eastern European countries worry they may be next to face Moscow's swagger; NATO allies have ramped up their presence; and Canada promises 6 CF-18 fighter jets to help patrol the skies.


syria-ukraine-biden-560.jpg

U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden (L) in Kiev on Tuesday, announced that the U.S. will provide $50 million to
help Ukraine's beleaguered government with political and economic reforms. (Reuters/Sergei Supinsky)


But Syria's war is into its fourth year. An estimated 150,000 people have been killed. More than 2.6 million Syrians have cleared out. The world may say it cares, but it hasn't offered much help.

Bayan Khatib is a Canadian-based activist who works in the media section of the Syrian National Coalition -- the official governing body of the Syrian opposition. She joined us via Skype from Mississauga, Ontario.

Many experts warn that the chaos in Syria could easily spread and threaten the stability of its neighbours.

Bessma Momani is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and she was in Waterloo, Ontario.

Ukraine and Syria may not have much in common -- except perhaps for Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin has managed to keep foreign interference to a minimum in Damascus and Kiev, and he remains one of the few allies of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime.

Alexander Shumilin is the Director of the Center for the Analysis of Middle East Conflicts at the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was in Moscow.


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This segment was produced by The Current's Catherine Kalbfleisch and Lara O'Brien.

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