*Disclaimer: graphic images contained
So, what’s all the fuss about? If you, like myself, have been seeing a new hashtag and wondering what’s really going on then this post is for you. If you, like myself, have been wondering what can I possibly do to help then this post is for you. If you, like myself, are heart-wrenched by the inhumane acts happening in front of our very faces then this post is for you.
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is Aleppo and why is it now a trending hashtag? Aleppo is a city in Syria, a country in the Middle East. It was once Syria’s largest city and there are about 2.3 million people living there. Syrians have endured many woes in regard to corruption in their government, lack of freedom, & high unemployment rates and started demonstrations for democratic reform amongst other issues. They are uprising against the reign of the current ruling family. Syria has been entangled in a civil war, which began in the city Deraa, for more than five years. This war began in March of 2011 and moved to the area in and around Aleppo in 2012 where it has been a constant battle. The troops of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are fighting insurgent troops, known as rebels, who are trying to overthrow Assad’s government. The current government has been unsuccessful in victory due to the intervention of other countries and groups. Russia, the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia have all played large roles in the war as has the Islamic State terror organization. Russia and Iran support Assad’s government, while the United States, France, and Saudi Arabia have – to some degree or another – backed the rebel forces.
Per Huffington Post, despite a humanitarian outcry, Russia adamantly defends its position in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This puts them at odds with Western powers, who have continually attempted to establish a ceasefire and no-fly zone in Syria, including most recently with an ill-fated U.N. Resolution that was backed by France and Spain. In 2015 when Russia, who previously defended Assad politically, staged a massive intervention on behalf of the Syrian government. Russian jets began bombing with MUCH higher intensity than the U.S.-led alliance. The continued bombardment has come with reports of substantial civilian casualties and even calls from the international community for an International Criminal Court investigation of whether Russia has committed war crimes.
The U.N. Estimates that anywhere from 250,000 to 270,000 people are now dead. Millions have fled and millions of people are trying to find safe haven from the fighting inside Syria itself. Horrific acts such as chemical weapons, mass killings in the streets, bombings, burning of human beings, and raping of innocent women and children have occurred. The operation to evacuate people from the last rebel areas of Aleppo has now begun. Idlib, where the Aleppo buses are headed, has also been subject to intense air strikes over the past few months. The International Rescue Committee has urged the Syrian and Russian governments to extend the ceasefire to apply to the whole country. “Thousands of people are in need of evacuation, but the first and most urgent thing is wounded, sick and children, including orphans,” Jan Egeland, the UN’s humanitarian adviser for Syria, told reporters in Geneva. Aleppo’s 2 largest hospitals have been hit and are no longer operational.
Traumatized children, women, and men survivors are in extreme need of assistance. How can you sit and not give what you can? What if it were your loved ones? Would you not want compassion shown to them? Where is the humanity and where have our souls gone? My heart breaks for those entangled in the mess that has befallen them. I beg you to take some time today and donate your efforts to lending a helping hand, spreading the word, and praying for these families.
Here’s how you can help:
Islamic Relief USA is providing emergency medical supplies and resources
Syrian American Medical Society is actively working on the ground to help
The International Rescue Committee aid workers are meeting people who have fled Aleppo as they reach the nearby town of Al Dana, one of the many neighboring areas bracing themselves for the influx of displaced people driven from their homes in the city
The International Committee of the Red Cross and its local partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, have enabled food and medical deliveries to those in need
Whether publicly, or privately, donate what you can. In the words of Yasmin Mogahed “Death isn’t political. Rape isn’t political. Burning alive isn’t political. There’s politics, and then there’s humanity. I’m sorry. Regardless of which group you support, which religion you follow, or which sect your ascribe to, there is absolutely no excuse for losing your humanity. None.” I sincerely pray that God blesses you for your efforts, for your concern, for getting engaged in the care of those in desperate need, and for the prayers that you send on their behalf!
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” -Albert Schweitzer