In 2011, Yaman was a medical student at Syria’s University of Damascus when The Arab Spring hit and civil war overtook her country. While on campus, passing out flyers with the hopes of getting people aware and involved in the fight against the maniacal Assad regime, Yaman, now 22, was detained, taken to a clandestine location, and beaten and tortured for 23 days. When Yaman wouldn’t implicate her friends as being a part of the movement by revealing their names during her interrogations, she was repeatedly electrocuted all over her body, threatened with rape, and thrown into solitary confinement.
Unfortunately, Yaman’s story is not uncommon of a dissenter to the abusive Syrian regime, it would seem as though torture and illegal confinement are par for the course in Syria. What many people don’t realize is that these sorts of abuses are still taking place everyday in Syria.
Here are 5 things you should know about where the conflict now stands:
- There are approximately 9.5 million Syrian refugees since the crisis broke out in March 2011. Of those 9.5 million, roughly 3 million fled to the surrounding countries (i.e. Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan & Iraq), but 6.5 million are still internally displaced (IDPs) within Syria’s borders.
- Of those 6.5 million displaced within Syria, the majority are in hard to reach locations where it is near impossible, and exceptionally dangerous, for humanitarian aid to reach them. Many of these areas are subject to constant bombing and/or are under control by ISIS-like groups.
- According to World Vision, approximately 240,000 Syrians have been killed since the start of the conflict, with 12,000 of them being children. 300,000 plus are estimated to have been kidnapped and many more are subject to beheadings and torture.
- The crisis has thrown a wrench in the education of Syria’s youth, with an estimated half of the entire refugee population being under the age of 18. Most kids have been out of school for months if not years. Children are also more susceptible to abuse and disease in these types of situations, thereby compromising the future of millions of Syrian children even more.
- Refugees are in need of the basic necessities many of us take for granted, such as food, shelter, sanitation, and proper medical care. For as many Syrians who have sorted those basic necessities out for themselves, others are struggling to make a living and have already had their finances obliterated as a result of the conflict.
In recent months, we have mostly heard about how the crisis is affecting Europe and North America, but very little attention is given to the 6.5 million Syrians who are still stuck in the country. Many civil servants, charitable organizations, and human rights advocates consider the internally displaced to be of the greatest concern. Within Syria much is destroyed and children are said to be starving. A representative of Amnesty International has said that the IDPs are of the gravest concern and that the narrative of the refugees as being dangerous in the media is problematic.
In September, the United States agreed to take at least another 10,000 more refugees from the crisis, after having aimed to settle 1,800 by this past October 1, but as you can see by the numbers listed above, the crisis still remains largely unsolved. While numbers are conflicting, supposedly 150,000 have taken asylum within Europe, with member states pledging to take another 33,000, 85 percent of which is pledged by Germany alone. As with most political crises, a comprehensive solution is going to have to be a global one, as the crisis has clearly reached international proportions. As with any human rights crisis, the Syrian people are vulnerable to more abuses both within the country and abroad.
There are many different ways you can help with the crisis, two of which are either donating to the international aid organization of your choice, or spreading awareness about the conflict. Many remember The Arab Spring, but aren’t aware of the consequences of the uprising, as we don’t always see evidence of the turmoil in the media. Remember: every one of those numbers listed above represents a person with feelings, emotions, and an instinct for survival. May God watch after all of those involved in the conflict.
– Arielle London
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform