In the past year or so, there’s been a rapid increase in the amount of times that Syria, namely their city Aleppo, has been mentioned in the news. The reason being is that the people of Syria have been in a civil war for the past four years, fighting for their freedom against a brutal and fatal dictatorship. Aleppo was the country’s most populated city before it became a battlefield for their war.
Yesterday, it was announced that the few people that are remaining in Aleppo are saying their final goodbyes because they could be killed at any moment unless something major changes and they’re rescued. As someone who has been watching and keeping up with the news regarding all this, I have felt nothing but helpless and despair at the way we’re watching this city burn down. My friend called it ‘the modern day Holocaust’ which is terrifying. How could we have let it come to this? Was there really nothing that could have been done?
Then it dawned on me that there really is very little we can do unless we all boarded a plane to Syria and physically tried to stop this war. So other than that, what else is there? The first would be to get educated and understand why this is happening. My main sources for constant news on Aleppo came from AJ+ and Mic.
The war’s conflict is between Bashar al-Assad, the current president of Syria, and various anti-government rebel groups, supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The rebel groups began this war in 2011, starting with the Arab Spring protests and leading into using Aleppo as a way to fight against Assad. However, Assad didn’t get fully involved until September 2015 with the support of Russia and Iran. With their combined power and force, they were able to one up the rebel groups, but it was really the people of Aleppo that suffered. There were air attacks, under ground attacks, chlorine gases dropped, and so much more on civilians. Their homes, schools, and hospitals have all been destroyed.
Assad had controlled the Western half while the rebels controlled the Eastern half, and the two went back and forth with their attacks. Assad had then gained advantage of the East and lay seige. A siege is when you trap a group of people, in this case both rebels and civilians, and deny them any supplies or assistance until they surrender. While this sort of siege is illegal, somehow, Assad has been able to get away with it for years and it’s working. When you leave people with no food and continue to attack them by dropping bombs over them, they’re likely to do anything you say.
This past July, Assad blocked all rebel areas and cut off supplies to more than 200,000 people. These people had been living with no food, no clean water or medical supplies. Doctors and hospitals were being bombed, which denied them any medical assistance as well. Toward the end of July, the rebels struck back and temporarily broke the siege until it was reimposed again this past September. And this has continued to be the case till today. Too much has been done and it seems there really isn’t a solution to this crisis that doesn’t involve major risks or setbacks.
What I explained was really a general rundown of events, but I urge everyone to look it up some more online. Look at the videos posted of the many attacks, read the stories of those who died or are under attack, and be aware. Once you are aware, spread that awareness and make sure everyone knows. Forget your social media aesthetic/brand/image for a bit and talk about Aleppo. Treat it like you would when there’s an attack in your city or country. Don’t be silent and turn a blind eye to these people dying. If you are able to scroll past a video of a child covered in dust and blood, mourning over losing their parents or having no hope in sight, then I have to hand it to you because I can’t look away nor can I stomach it.
Wanting to do more, I looked into several organizations that are actively helping the cause in Syria and Aleppo. Here’s a list for those who want to donate: