by Adam Knauer
Video Podcast Editor
Syria’s civil war is proving to be one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. Half of Syria’s pre-war population, more than 11 million people, has been either forced to flee its homes or killed.
The United Nations has estimated that there are around 6.8 million internally displaced people, or those who are forced to flee their homes, but remain within their country’s borders, also known as IDPs. The remaining population within the borders of Syria is in need of urgent assistance, whether they have fled to a temporarily safe area or are unable to leave the cross-fire.
Children now make up more than half of the world’s refugees, according to a Unicef report. More than five years after it began, the full-blown civil war has killed over 250,000 people, half of whom are believed to have been civilians. Bombs are destroying crowded cities and killing innocent people.
The level of terror in Syria can be seen in the eyes of the children hurt and homeless as a result of the refugee crisis and civil war. The latest symbol of their suffering is five year-old Omran. He is a harsh reminder to the world of the plight of the Syrian civilians. Omran’s picture was captured as he sat stunned in an ambulance after being rescued from a destroyed building in Aleppo, Syria, on Aug. 17.
For these children, what’s at stake is not politics. It is their lives. Having already lost their homes, schools and communities, their chances of building a future may also soon be lost.
A majority of the refugees trapped in the country aren’t able to cross borders because other countries are refusing to accept any more people. The UK Government recently announced that they will construct a 13 foot wall in Calais, France, to block refugees from crossing the channel.
The 13 foot high barrier will stretch about a mile along the carriageway approaching the port. It is designed to prevent refugees from climbing into vehicles attempting to enter the UK. Work on the barrier will begin this month and should be completed by the end of 2016.
This project was initially put into place after truck drivers protested earlier this week over safety concerns around the port. The current conditions had many fearing for their lives. “Drivers have reported having their windscreens smashed with metal bars or being ambushed by burning branches on the road left by men desperate to get them to slow down so they can jump on board,” wrote Victoria Craw from News.com.
In recent news, many Syrians in the city of Aleppo have been coughing and gasping after the Assad regime dropped a chlorine gas bomb on a rebel-held area on Tuesday. The gas is contained in cylinders inside large barrels, which are dropped from helicopters and bursts on impact, spreading the harsh chemical.
President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons could change the US response to the Syrian civil war. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) has aimed to eliminate an entire category of tools of mass destruction by prohibiting any creation or use of chemical weapons by states’ parties, which includes Syria.
(Sources: CNN, Aljazeera, The Atlantic)