Syria, a Country Fighting Itself

Staff Writer: Olivia Eugenia Bernal

Photos Courtesy of: Emily Boswell

Dipping into cans of paint, their fingers mark the school wall and grain silo, writing out: ” As-Shaab /Yoreed / Eskaat el nizzam!”; “The people/ want/ to topple  the regime!”

In the small farming town of Deraa, fifteen children were arrested for their anti-government graffiti. The children were beaten and their nails ripped out one by one. Seeing them on television, the children were inspired by the Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests in the Middle East.

It is in Deraa that Syria’s Civil War began.

In 2016, it was estimated that 470,000 Syrians have died since March 2011, when the war first started.

Before the violence began, Syrian protestors voiced their want of democracy, they asked for the freedoms denied to them.

Shooting peaceful protestors during their demonstrations, is how the Syrian government responded.

Hussain Mohammad is from Deraa, and during early 2011, he was trying to help wounded protestors. At the hospital where he volunteered a doctor, related to Bashar, told him “you should not help the wounded, never, because they are terrorists”.

Many injured protestors were women and children.

“I thought I would be safer than others because the medical profession is the cleanest profession in the world, and should be there to help everyone no matter what his community, race or religion,” said Mohammad. “But a few months later, the doctor had me arrested. For six days I was tortured.”

Angry with their government, protestors demanded the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, he refused. Assad offered to change certain parts of the government after the violence intensified, the rebels refused.

For over five years since, Syria has been in the middle of a civil war that is tearing the country apart. Aleppo is an example of such turmoil. As an Unesco World Heritage site, the city of Aleppo is recognized as crucial to the world’s history and culture and that it should be protected.

By July 2012, the city was figuratively drawn in halves, one side supporting the government, the other rebelling against  the government. Aleppo was a  major battleground of the civil war.

On December 22, 2016, the Syrian government  announced they had taken the city from the rebels, now, Aleppo is in the hands of Syria’s government. The Syrians supporting the government celebrated their victory.

During the evacuation of the rebel’s side of the city, buses carting civilians to safety were attacked by rebels. The fighting made the evacuation difficult, but the majority of civilians were evacuated to the nearby city of Idlib.

The horrors many of the refugees have been victim of or seen include torture, murder, or rape –to men, women, and children.

Bashar Al Dyab studied dentistry at Damascus University before the war.  In July 2011, while studying with her cousin, Syrian soldiers came and arrested many people randomly. On the bus they were put the soldiers beat them. “In the bus, they were humiliating and insulting us and hitting us as though we were animals.”

“They told me that I was a terrorist, that I took money from Israel  and United States and Qatar and Saudi Arabia. I remember that when I reached the prison I was full of blood and black and blue in my face, said Dyab.

“I live in Jordan now as a refugee, but my family is not with me. I don’t  have a job. I was never able to finish my school, so I can do nothing. I don’t know what will happen with my life.”

An estimated 11 million Syrians have fled Syria since March 2011, applying for citizenship or refuge in neighboring or  European countries . An estimated 13.5 million people in Syria, need immediate humanitarian assistance.

Everyday, about 3,000 Syrians leave their country.

 

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