By Sierra Maciorowski

1,429 people have died from the use of chemical weapons in Syria – or, at least, that’s what US Secretary of State John Kerry says – and the conflict’s death total is more than 83,000. Yet those deaths, while important, are not the sole factor to consider for the United States on the topic of intervention.

Sonoma Academy has more connections to the country than might be expected- and opinions, which come from all sides of the debate. One student, who prefers to remain anonymous, believes that Syria will only be injured by US intervention, saying that “. . . the last thing Syria needs is more explosions and violence over there. The absolute last thing.”

Many agree with this. “It’s more than just Syria,” chemistry teacher Wade Nasholds said. “The whole area is like a bunch of gasoline vapors waiting to ignite.” With Syria’s neighbors including unstable Israel and Egypt, a US intervention – political or militant – could easily set off the flames in the Middle East.

Other community members, including junior Squid Tamar-Mattis, believe that the key is avoiding a purely American intervention- but some external pressure is necessary. “I agree with Putin, who says that the UN should dismantle the chemical weapons program,” Tamar-Mattis said. “I’m more inclined to believe the UN than the US in general.”

Opinions on Syria have continued to develop as the situation progresses. “A chemical weapons grab will lessen the fighting quite a bit,” said debate captain Morgan Apostle. “That being said, I believe in humanitarian aid, but no military intervention.”

With Syria already a hot topic early on in the season, debaters everywhere have been forced to develop strong opinions. And, unfortunately, the conflict does not seem anywhere near resolution.

At the very least, diplomatic options have increased in the past few weeks. Junior Logan Noel, who faced the topic of Syria at the first debate tournament of the year, describes his beliefs as constantly changing. “However, the recent US-Russia joint proposal for the removal of chemical weapons gives me new hope,” Noel said.