I’m reading a lot of outrage from people who object to seeing dead Syrian children in their Facebook/Twitter feed, and I understand their point of view, but I don’t share it.
Over 250,000 Syrians have been killed since 2011, most of them by the Assad regime. The world has done nothing to protect civilians in Syria to allow them to stay in their homeland. Calls made by Syrians since October 2011 for a No Fly Zone have gone unanswered.
Such powerful images affect world opinion – we know this because Europe increased its rescue operations in the Mediterranean after terrible images of refugee bodies appeared throughout European media. Such images also affect individuals into caring more about the Syrian crisis and donating. I know this because since the photo of 3-year-old Elan al-Kurdi went viral, several Israelis have asked my how they can donate to Syrian refugees.
Unfortunately, people need to shocked into action and images do this. A lengthy article (for example, this great one ) about the Syrian refugee crisis are read by few, but images are shared and seen by many.
If the image of little Elan saves future lives or alleviates the suffering of Syrians, it is our duty to bear witness and make others do so as well.
If you want to help Syrians inside Syria and Syrian refugees, please consider donating to these two excellent Syrian aid NGOs, which have done great work for years now. Their work is based on dedicated volunteers, and hence the overhead costs are very low.
Donations can be made from Israel too, as they are registered outside of Syria.
If you want to donate to an international NGO, please consider donation to Doctors without Borders who operate hospitals in Syria and rescue refugees at sea
Since the beginning of 2013, Assad’s forces have laid siege on the suburbs of the capital known as Ghouta, which was the target of a chemical weapons attack earlier this summer. Regime forces are stopping food and other goods from coming in and as winter approaches, activists are warning that the situation is about to get even worse.
The chemical weapons attack on the eastern and southern outskirts of Damascus (collectively known as Ghouta) have garnered a great deal of international attention over the past month. While pundits and experts discussed the imminent American-led strike on regime targets and later how to disarm the Assad regime of its chemical weapon stockpiles, however, few focused on the situation on the ground in the areas affected by the chemical attack itself (which are targets of daily artillery attacks and air strikes by the regime). These areas have been besieged by the regime forces since January 2013, leading to severe shortages of food, medicine and fuel that have resulted in the death of at least eight malnourished children and many patients who could have been saved had proper medical treatment been available to them.
Ghouta has been an opposition stronghold since the first days of the Syrian uprising. Many of the residents of Ghouta’s conservative Sunni working-class towns were displaced from southern and eastern Syria due to long years of drought and the government’s mismanagement of the drought crisis. During the initial, peaceful stage of the Syrian uprising, Ghouta witnessed large protests. Soon after the opposition began to arm itself in 2011, the towns of Ghouta were wrestled from regime control in 2012 and are now in the hands of the rebels. Civil society organizations sprung up to fill the void created by the government’s absence in the area.
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