Tag Archives: Syria

How You Can Help Mothers and Babies in Syria’s Idlib Camps

War is suffocating every corner of Syria and has been for the past several years. In areas that are close to neighboring countries like Idlib province that borders Turkey, Syrians from all over the country are fleeing there for safety believing that those border regions won’t fall under severe air attack. Unfortunately, as we learned last week, that just is not the case.

Chemicals, including sarin gas, rained upon civilians in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province last week and while it definitely happened as we saw in newspapers and on the news leaders involved in the region are striking fingers at their enemies. The United States is blaming Russia and the Assad regime for the chemical attacks, the Assad regime is blaming the rebels, the rebels are blaming the Assad regime, and Putin is now saying that the United States is putting “false flag” attempts on Syria blaming them for the chemical attacks in order to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, men, women, and children continue to suffer daily. In the Idlib camps for internally displaced people, NGOs are providing as much aid as possible to the thousands of families who fled cities like Aleppo, Damascus, and Homs with intense hopes of crossing into Turkey where they instead found the border had been strictly closed.

Aid agencies provide food, water, and medical attention to those living in the camps, but they need as much help as they can get. Four Chicago mothers know this well and have started a fund to send baby supplies to 1500 babies in the Idlib camps with the help of Chicago-based Heroic Hearts Organization. Called a Parcel of Love campaign, you can donate as much as you’d like from bath essentials for $20 to feeding essentials for $80 to a fully equipped baby box for $240.

The Parcel of Love campaign has already raised $92,000, but there is a long way to go to help improve the beginnings for the children who have already come into this world with so little. 

To donate visit: http://hchearts.org/campaigns/parcel-of-love. And, also please spread the word to your networks to help this worthy cause.

Where Have 4.8 Million Syrian Refugees Gone?

Jeffrey H. Cohen, The Ohio State University

The Syrian civil war has entered its fifth year with few signs of ending.

The fighting has forced more than 13.5 million Syrians to flee their homes. Most of the displaced have not left Syria, but have simply moved around the country in an attempt to get out of the way of the fighting.

But approximately 4.8 million others have traveled beyond their nation’s borders in a search for security.

In my book Cultures of Migration, I argue that mass migrations and refugee crises don’t simply happen. They have a history and a trajectory. That work has led me to ask: Who are the Syrian refugees? What made their migration happen?

Continue reading Where Have 4.8 Million Syrian Refugees Gone?

Only a Global Response Can Solve Europe’s Refugee Crisis

Phil Orchard, The University of Queensland

The recent deaths of asylum seekers attempting to reach European shores have prompted ongoing calls for action. But, given the scale of the issue, only a comprehensive, global program can go some way to solving the crisis.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) notes that more than 366,000 refugees have arrived in Europe by sea so far in 2015. And 80% have come from the world’s top ten refugee-producing countries, including half from Syria.

This can be a deadly voyage. The International Organisation for Migration reports that at least 2373 migrants have already died trying to reach Europe this year.

Continue reading Only a Global Response Can Solve Europe’s Refugee Crisis

Stand Up for the Children of Syria

Guest Post: Lynn Croneberge, Chief Executive Officer of SOS Children’s Villages-USA

When I think about Syria, I’m overcome with emotion remembering the countless stories of children affected by the country’s ongoing conflict. It is truly a tragedy.

I often think of Wael, a 9-year-old boy, who was shot in the face by a sniper while he stood outside on a balcony with his mother. Although he survived, he now has to endure countless surgeries to help with the reconstruction of his facial features.

I also think of the horrific attack that left Hala, a 9-year-old girl, wandering the streets crying, terrified and covered in blood. She was injured and had just witnessed the death of her mother after a mortar fell on their home. Today, Hala is in a hospital coping with the psychological trauma that comes with witnessing the brutality of war.

Heartbreaking stories like these are all too common in Syria.

Continue reading Stand Up for the Children of Syria

One Million Children are Now Syrian Refugees

Amid news of a poison chemical attack right outside of Damascus last week and the sniper attack on a UN convoy today, UNICEF also had harrowing news of its own to announce last Friday. They have recorded the one millionth child refugee who has escaped the war in Syria.

“This one millionth child refugee is not just another number,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “This is a real child ripped from home, maybe even from a family, facing horrors we can only begin to comprehend.”

“We must all share the shame,” said Lake, “because while we work to alleviate the suffering of those affected by this crisis, the global community has failed in its responsibility to this child. We should stop and ask ourselves how, in all conscience, we can continue to fail the children of Syria.”

According to UNICEF most of the Syrian child refugees are under the age of 11 and 7,000 children have been killed since the war commenced. Syrians have fled to nearby Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Some are even fleeing to Egypt where there is internal violence there as well.

“It is appalling that the world has stood and watched as one million children have been forced from their country, terrified, traumatized and in some cases orphaned,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.

“This is not a crisis we can sit out; it is not going away. The refugee disaster the war in Syria has created is getting far worse, far faster than the world can cope with. It is now critically important world leaders secure humanitarian access across Syria.

Save the Children released its report, Childhood Under Fire, in March that details the extent to which children have been adversely affected by over two years of war in Syria. The report reveals that boys are being used as runners and human shields and girls are being married off early in order to protect them from sexual violence.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0492/Lyon
© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0492/Lyon

Malnutrition is also rife in refugee camps. The Word Food Programme is now providing food assistance to 1.1 million people in Syria’s neighboring countries.

The UNHCR, the UN’s Refugee Agency, has registered all million children who have fled Syria. They have also provided birth certificates for all babies who have been born in refugee status in order to prevent stateless births.

As aforementioned, children who are refugees face many challenges including early marriage, lack of education, having to go to work early, sexual exploitation, and child trafficking.

This video from UNICEF and the UNHCR shows the lives of Syrian refugee children.


HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Millions of dollars are needed every week in order to provide assistance to the millions of Syrian refugees.

You can donate to Save the Children, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme to make a difference.

Featured photo: © UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0495/Wreford