The Syrian civil war is the world’s largest refugee and displacement crisis.
Unfortunately, the war in Syria has reached its decade-long mark. Syrian citizens continue to experience unimaginable suffering from the consequences of war.
Over half a million people are estimated to have been killed, with approximately 55,000 children caught in the crossfire.
Besides the physical casualties of war, many Syrians are tormented with psychological trauma, lack of humanitarian aid, and no longer have a home to return to.
In this blog, we’ll be discussing grim facts about the 10 years of war Syria has been going through.
How did the Syrian war start?
The war in Syria started 10 years ago with a peaceful protest against the president of Syria that soon turned violent in March 2011.
Leading up to the uprising, many Syrians were unhappy with high unemployment and political corruption.
A pro-democracy demonstration that started in the southern city of Daraa inspired uprisings in the neighboring communities as well.
As protests spread throughout Syria, strong government crackdowns began to happen.
This escalated to deadly force deployed by the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad.
What country is Syria at war with?
The violence quickly turned into civil war.
Rebel groups and the government began receiving support from foreign powers, where they began to send money, weapon, and armies.
The government’s biggest suppliers have been Russia and Iran, whereas rebel forces have been backed by Turkey, Western powers, and several Gulf Arab states to different degrees.
Russia had military bases in Syria even before the war and supported the Syrian government by launching air attacks.
It’s also believed that Iran has deployed troops and sent billions of dollars in support of the Syrian government.
Many Shia Muslim militiamen from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen have fought alongside the Syrian army.
Turkey troops and allied rebels have seized territory along the northern border, and Israel ships military weapons to the Shia militia.
The US, UK, and France supported the rebel groups until extremist jihadist organizations became the leading force.
How have Syrians been affected?
Syria’s pre-war population was 22 million. More than 11 million civilians have fled, 6.7 million displaced, and 5.6 million registered as refugees.
Over 100.000 people are imprisoned and tortured, while 3 million people are estimated to be suffering from a permanent disability as a result of war.
As a result of the civil war, many are struggling to find enough food each day and citizens are chronically malnourished.
On top of the devastating famine, many Syrians are suffering from the COVID-19 outbreak with no access to testing or a healthcare system.
Gender-based violence has been increasing in addition to many women and children being subjected to torture. Syrians have been injured, subjected to pain, murdered, abducted, or imprisoned.
Perpetrators from both sides are starving the population and restricting humanitarian aid.
Besides, most of Syria’s rich cultural heritage has been eradicated with IS militants deliberately blowing it up. All six of the country’s world heritage sites have been damaged.
Syria and COVID-19
Without adequate testing sites or healthcare facilities, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact number of coronavirus cases in Syria.
However, the U.N. Security Council estimates that cases have quadrupled and will exponentially rise.
Many parts of Syria no longer have access to clean water, sanitation, or power. Masks and soap as preventative measures cannot be a priority for Syrians who have to prioritize eating and finding food for their families.
Coronavirus patients are reported to have to pay bribes for hospital admissions or oxygen supplies, and there is currently a stoppage of cross-border aid and restricted access to health care. There is barely any testing capacity or personal protective equipment.
Millions of people are at risk, and emergency doctors only make up 0.3% of the country’s public hospital workers.
Both the Syrian government and Russian allies attacked health workers and hospitals as a war tactic.
There have been 595 documented attacks on health facilities and 932 murders of medical professionals, largely from the Syrian government or Russian allies.
What is happening in Syria right now?
The government is currently in control of Syria’s biggest cities; however, large parts of the country are still being held by rebels and jihadists.
Around two-thirds of the Syrian population lives in government-controlled areas, and many donor countries are reluctant to assist these areas.
The education opportunities in Syria are dwindling, and over 40% of schools have become damaged or destroyed. Schools became used for temporary shelters and have gotten attacked in the process.
A large majority of Syrians live at risk of explosive hazards, including landmines. It’s estimated that as many as 10 million people live in contaminated areas for explosive hazards.
The economy in Syria has collapsed, and most of Syria’s infrastructures have been destroyed. The estimated economic cost of the war is around $1 trillion, and the economic downturn has exponentially increased food prices to reach historical highs.
More than 80% of Syrians live in extreme poverty, surviving on as little as $1.90 a day.
Sadly, it doesn’t seem like the war will end anytime soon, as both sides are still violently seeking dominance over the other.
United Nations mediated peace talks have been conducted to no avail, and negotiations are being rejected. Unfortunately, the conflict stems out from every foreign power involved and not just Syria.
Please consider donating to the Syria Humanitarian Fund, whose mission is to urgently provide food, water and save the lives of all Syrians affected by this nightmare. You can donate here.
Also, help us fight this issue, along with all other pressing issues of our world by contributing whatever you can.
We use these funds to provide quality education, training, and awareness to youth from underserved communities to help them become better leaders of tomorrow.
Sovena Ngeth is a Philadelphia-based writer who is passionate about using her words for change. She is also a content writer at the International Youth Organization for Peace and Sustainability.
Inputs and Edits by Aswin Raghav R.