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).
“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.
When I lived in Syria, I hadn’t even heard about the Janbolad (Junblatt) Palace until 2011, my third year as an archaeology student. I was very surprised that a palace like this existed in my city. I did not expect its beauty, because just a few people even knew the palace’s name and location.
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.
Ordinary Syrian people are going to extraordinary lengths, risking everything to protect their heritage, despite the horror that has engulfed their country. For them, it is not a question of people or stones. The story of the people is embedded in those stones, a crafted story stretching back millennia. Saving that story is saving Syria. Dr. Emma Cunliffe. Research Associate, Oxford University.