The Arab Spring protests reached Syria in March 2011, the pro-democracy uprising, initially demanding reforms, soon turned into a civil war and violence escalated as a result of the government forces utilizing brutality to suppress the civil movement. More than seven years of conflict lead to the deaths of over 400,000 Syrians; millions were forcibly displaced, and the country is devastated economically. Since the beginning of the conflict, more than four million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and an estimated 6.1 million people have been displaced within Syria, bringing the total number of expelled Syrians to a staggering 11.5 million (UNHCR 2017).
“Do certain images of injured kids stay in my mind more than others? If you asked me that two years ago, then I could probably give an answer. But today, after witnessing the huge number of massacres that I have, it’s very hard to think of one specific instance. It’s become a daily occurrence. Now images stay in my mind for a short while before they slip away, to take their place alongside all the others. My own personal graveyard.” AFP Photographer Abd Doumany
We now know the pattern of besiegement in Syria and so we know what is to come in Aleppo. Government forces surround an area of a city and cut off all food and supplies. The population weakens and thins, the elderly dying first and then next the children, often from water-borne diseases. The United Nations stands by, failing again in its humanitarian obligations through its obsequiousness to a government whose crimes long ago stripped it of any legitimacy. The West and Russia can drop bombs but not food. Support cannot go to those who might be able to break the siege because of their ideology; instead it just sloshes into a corrupt morass outside the country. Statements are issued and ignored. 2139. 2165. 2191. 2254. 2258. These are the numbers of the United Nations Security Council resolutions that are brushed off by Assad.
“Big businesses are closing and the problems we are facing only young people can solve…The need for startups and entrepreneurship culture is really essential for Syria.” Leen Darwish. Read about her coding app Remmaz here.
Last week, while the bombing of Aleppo intensified, three brothers went out to play. They ended up at the Al Quds hospital, where a volunteer was filming the doctors at work. Published by Channel 4 News on 8 June.
The relentless pummelling of Sheikh Maqsoud has devastated the lives of civilians in the area. A wide array of armed groups from the Fatah Halab coalition has launched what appear to be repeated indiscriminate attacks that may amount to war crimes,” Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International.