Change is possible for the people of Syria, says Chief Advocate Tim Costello
March 15 marks the grim sixth anniversary of the war in Syria – and the greatest humanitarian crisis in our world today. The millions of people caught up in this deadly conflict – and those who are working to aid them – desperately need your prayers and support.
Six years ago, a fire was lit in the Middle East called the Arab Spring. That peaceful uprising erupted into the deadliest conflict yet seen in the 21st century. Even graver dangers may lie ahead.
As the conflict enters its seventh year, at least 300,000 people – possibly many more – have been killed. More than 11 million of Syria's pre-war population of 22 million (roughly the same population as Australia) have been forced from their homes.
The victims are everyday people. Just like you and me.
More than half of those fleeing the violence in Syria are children. Their suffering is immeasurable. Many have lost their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters; their homes and their hopes for the future. They are a generation of children who know nothing but war. Many have been displaced multiple times. Many have lost years of education.
In the months of October and November 2016 alone, children accounted for more than 20 percent of all civilian deaths. More than one-third of children killed in 2015 were killed while at or en-route to school. Too many have been forced into child labour and child marriage.
More than 15,000 children have crossed Syria’s borders unaccompanied or separated from their families. Who could imagine the psychological impact of their suffering?