WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC AND DIFFICULT TO LOOK AT. VIEWER DISCRETION IS STRONGLY ADVISED.
In today’s world, everyone is connected through social media. You scroll on Facebook, Twitter, INstagram, Snapchat featured stories, reddit- viewing the content shared by those you follow and subscribe to. With that in mind, there’s also a good chance that you’ve heard of the civil war in Syria, the spread of ISIS in the Middle East as an unintended consequence, and the massive amounts of refugees fleeing the violence to European countries. You’ve seen painful, heart-wrenching images that make you grateful for what you have in life.
What is happening as a result of the Syrian Civil War – a devastating genocide orchestrated by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad – has created unimaginable internal conflicts between groups and ultimately lead to the spread of Islamist groups such as ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (aka The Nusra Front). Innocent families have been ripped apart from bombings on civilian areas which destroy necessary infrastructure such as places of employment, hospitals, and schools. Syrians are forced to either flee to overcrowded refugee camps, seek asylum in Europe, or join an extremist group all in hope of providing security for themselves and their families. What is happening there is something that many in the Western region of the world will never be able to comprehend and therefore, many don’t feel the sympathy and compassion that they should.
These are times of crises that the entire world needs to consider and open their hearts to. So, below are powerful images that have emerged from these crises. Viewers must be warned that these images are extremely graphic and disturbing. The purpose of this is to remind the world that just because it’s not happening here, doesn’t mean that it’s not occurring elsewhere. We, humankind, must help those in need even if they don’t speak our language, have different religions, or a different skin color. We are all human. This is a humanitarian issue and crises.
1. The overcrowded Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria
The Yarmouk Refugee camp consisted of both Palestinian and Syrian refugees but has become a front line in the civil war as ISIS continues to shell fire, killing refugees and destroying infrastructure. Pictured here was the line of refugees to receive aid, surrounded by collapsing buildings and civil unrest.
2. The man with his daugher selling pens in Beirut
Once a resident of the Yarmouk Refugee Camp who fled after ISIS’s invasion, Abdul was pictured selling pens in the streets of Beirut with his 4 year old daughter. The desperation to survive led this man to selling pens in order to support his family. Luckily, after the photo went viral through Gissur Simonarson, founder of Conflict News, a fundraising campaign launched which raised $80,000 to help Abdul and other Syrian families.
3. Laith Majid, hugging his family after arriving safely onshore in Kos, Greece
The journey and process of crossing the mediterranean is incredibly daunting and dangerous… many don’t survive the trip. In fact, as of May 2016, over 2,500 refugees have died trying to make this journey. Laith Majid and his family are from Iraq and fled like many others in the region and made it safely- a feat that deserves to be celebrated. He, like any other caring father, wants to protect his family and sometimes, making the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean is the only option for a better life, despite the great risk.
4. Omran Daqneesh, Syrian boy in an ambulance pulled from the rubble in Aleppo, Syria
This makes me want to cry every time I look at it. Omran Daqneesh, age 5, has become a symbol of the resulting brutality of the Syrian Civil War. He was pulled from the rubble after an airstrike in Aleppo and sits covered in dust and dirt in an ambulance- completely alone. What child deserves this? None. He stares off into the distance, likely in shock over what he just experienced. The world stopped the day this photo emerged- it sprung a new awakening of consciousness about the importance of the Syrian Civil War. No one is exempt from the brutality of the al-Assad regime, not even innocent children.
5. Aylan Kurdi
I’m having a hard time writing this (tears streaming down my face) because of the mere thought of this image and the reality that is. Aylan Kurdi was a 3 year old Syrian boy whose family made the treacherous crossing of the Mediterranean and sadly did not receive the same fate as Laith Majid. He was found on the Turkish shore after their boat capsized on the way to Greece. The only surviving member of Alyan’s family is his father, Abdullah who ultimately has suffered one of the worst pains imaginable. This powerful and horrifying image provoked increased awareness and compassion towards refugees, but nevertheless demonstrates the critical realities faced by refugees daily.
Aylan isn’t alone in his fate. He is direct casualty of the al-Assad regime and the Syrian Civil War. Innocent men, women, and children have been mercilessly killed by both al-Assad’s men and ISIS. Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, more than 4 million refugees have fled worldwide, while 12 million, roughly half the population of Syria pre-civil war, has become internally displaced.
This is a humanitarian issue that everyone needs to be aware of. The Syrian people are just like you and I- no difference other than their nationality. They deserve help. If possible, donate to the following organizations or become involved in aiding the victims of a war they never asked for. Please share this article to spread awareness and take a step in the direction of resolving this crisis once and for all.
UNHCR- Donation / Save The Children- Donate / UNICEF- Help Syrian Children / MercyCorps / International Rescue Committee- Syria / NuDay Syria