In 2012 a Civil War started in Syria, due to a protest against the government. 14 students were arrested in the town of Deraa and repeated tortured because they wrote the well-known Egyptian phrase “People want the downfall of the regime”. They called for freedom and democracy but not for President Assad’s resignation. This protest spiraled into something else. People marched through the city March 18th to peacefully protest their displeasure, police officers opened fire and four civilians were shot that day. The next day anyone who mourned the loss of those civilians was killed. Unrest fell over other cities in Syria, antigovernment protests started in Baniyas, Homs, Hama, and Damascus. The army captured protesters and labeled them as gang members and terrorists.
This has been the worst humanitarian disaster of our time. More than 9 million people have been displaced. This is bad because it has a direct impact on neighboring countries. 6.5 million people have been internally displaced in Syria. 1,176,971 people have been displaced in Lebanon, 1 in 5 people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee. 613,252 people in Jordan are displaced from Syria. 1 in 13 people are a Syrian refugee. Other countries that Syrian citizens are escaping to are Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey.
Families are escaping at night to avoid being shot down by snipers. However the snipers are half of the battle for families. They have to walk for miles to get to the next country to avoid persecution. Once they get to the next country they have to find a place to stay. A lot of countries do not have a refugee camp set up. Jordan was the first country to set up a refugee camp in 2012, known as Za’atari. Around 80,000 Syrians live in Za’atari. The camp provides the refuges with tents, school for the children and a sports field.
70% of Syrian refuges do not live in a camp. They live with families, they do odd jobs so they can pay rent, they take jobs that do not pat them enough to cover their basic needs. The biggest problem for Syrian refuges is the language barrier.
A common worry of the displaced people of Syria is the future. More than 50% of Syrian refuges are children under 18. They have been out of school for months at a time or since the war started. Depending on the child’s age they are confused about their safety and do not understand what is going on, or they are forced to grow up and work to take care of their family. Click on this link to see how the war effects the development of a child.
How can we help?
- Tell someone. Share articles about what is happening. Use social media to inform others.
- Donate: Any amount helps. We all have money that we find in the dryer that we can use to help someone else. This money goes to food, water, and shelter.
- Stay informed. Follow the media attention on this social issue.