Goal 16 - Peace and Justice

How Did We Get Here? Understanding the Syrian War and the Fall of Aleppo

You can rightfully acknowledge that the war in Syria is deeply complicated in its origins and actors. That the horrific images and social media posts streaming out of bomb-blasted Aleppo are heartbreaking. Yet, both truths are understatements.

There is not enough depth in the written word, or in language and self-expression to justify the horrors that the tiny, innocent children and their families have endured in Aleppo over the past two weeks.

And while the numbers from Syria may be basic to tally—more than 470,000 dead and 6.1 million internally displaced—to distill why the war is happening and what can be done is more complex. Here are articles that will help you add depth and greater interpretation to the conflict.

  1. Let’s start with some hope: There were nearly 50 orphans rescued in Aleppo. According to UNICEF, the 47 children trapped in an orphanage, begging for help have arrived safely in the neighboring Idlib province.
  2. How did we get to this juncture? Here are straightforward answers to basic questions on Syria. Max Fisher from the New York Times provides an in-depth and accessible breakdown on the war and how it all started.
  3. Actions the UN is taking: The Security Council has agreed in a resolution to have UN representatives present during Aleppo’s evacuation. The United Nations envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said that “it is vital to build on this initial momentum.”
  4. Can Syrians flee the region? Most are just too poor. For many Syrians who’ve made it to neighboring Lebanon or Turkey, the prospect of getting to Europe is out of the question as they struggle to feed their children.

Ahead of the May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the convening’s spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel said, “Now is the time to stand” and pleaded for the world to “choose humanity.” On Tuesday, the world commemorates the International Day for Human Solidarity. Choosing humanity—that we can make sense of.

Image: Al Jazeera.


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