It started with peaceful pro-democracy protests in the southern city of Deraa, after the arrest and torture of teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. Once security forces opened fire on demonstrators, more people around Syria took to the streets. Protests were against president Bashar al Assad, who had left the Syrian people displeased with the way he was running the country. His family and himself have been ruling over Syria for 40 years, with the Syrian people having no say. All was peaceful until Al Assad’s army reacted violently to clamp down the protests and silence the protestors, but Rebels began to fight back, in hopes that Al Assad would finally step down. Battles between the two sides have raged ever since, and in the process 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives. Whilst the country has become more and more unstable, IS was able to find its way into Syria and gain land and power, causing more trouble for the Syrian people. Consequently, Syria is now facing two internal wars; one between the government and rebel groups and one with the terrorist group IS, resulting in ordinary families in Syria suffering.
The crisis in Syria is believed to be the worst humanitarian crisis in nearly twenty years. Around half of the Syrian population are now internally displaced, forced to leave their homes, belongings, family and friends in hopes of finding new places to live, The number of refugees who have left Syria has risen to over 4 million according to UNHCR. Turkey has taken in over 2 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon over 1 million, Jordan over 628,000, and Iraq over 247,000 refugees. But the Humanitarian crisis hasn’t ended there. It is now unfolding across Europe. Some refugees of Syria have crossed the Mediterranean with one goal: coming to Europe for a chance of survival and safety. Smugglers put over 70 refugees on inflatable boats built for 10-15 people, which in many cases has resulted in the refugees drowning or never being found whilst trying to make the journey to Europe.
The crisis in Syria has crippled its people, and they have lost everything including their family, friends, their homes and their jobs. Many are forced to risk fleeing their homes, only to now face the danger and uncertainty of where they will resettle as they rebuild their lives, whilst supporting their children and/or their remaining family in Syria who sadly didn’t have the means to escape the devastation and heartbreak that has destroyed the beautiful place which they once called home.