The Plight of Children and the Syrian Refugee Crisis
The impact on children of the Syrian Civil War is a sad reminder of the refugee crisis happening today. To date, 500,000 people have been killed, and 13.5 million people have been displaced or are in need of humanitarian aid. Despite the humanitarian crisis taking place, most people aren’t interested in the troubles of the Middle East. Many Americans disapprove of allowing a larger number of Syrian refugees into the country out of fear of terrorists. To date, there have been no terrorist attacks committed by Syrian refugees on American soil.
Syria’s Ancient History
Civilization in Syria has an ancient history, dating back to the 10th century, B.C.. It was ruled by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C., and became a Roman province in 64 B.C.. Syria’s wealth and large population made it one of Rome’s most important provinces.
Syria also played a role in the spread of Christianity. Paul the Apostle was converted on the road to Damascus, becoming an important figure in the early Church. He embarked on several missionary journeys from Antioch. Aleppo, along with Damascus, is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities.
Civil War in Aleppo
Aleppo is the capitol of the Aleppo Governorate, located in the northern region of Syria. Since the battle for Aleppo began in 2012, the rebel-held eastern side of the city has suffered massive destruction. Ancient and historic structures have been reduced to rubble. Most of the area has been destroyed with the help of Iranian-backed militias and Russian airstrikes. On December 12, 2016, the city was fully liberated by pro-government forces under President Bashar al-Assad. Thousands of refugees fled the city in the wake of the conflict, injured and weak, and in freezing weather.
Children & Casualties
According to the BBC, there were over 100,000 children in the middle of the fighting, and aid agencies report that half of the casualties treated in Eastern Aleppo were children. News coverage has been graphic, as children, some of whom were already dead, were pulled from the rubble of buildings destroyed by the Syrian army and their allies.
The news reports moved me to tears. I watched parents scream and rage at the loss of their precious children, overcome by grief. As a mother, my heart breaks for those families who’ve lost their loved ones as a result of the conflict.
My interest in the Syrian conflict and the refugee crisis is purely humanitarian. The Syrians are ordinary people, not so different from us. Before the civil war, they went to work and school, practiced their faith, and went about the business of everyday life. Since then, their lives have been turned upside down. Every day is a struggle to survive and protect their children and loved ones in a world filled with violence and mayhem.
I am aware that there are conflicts and humanitarian crises happening all over the world, including America. However, we can set an example by responding to the suffering of innocent children, no matter where they come from. People from all over the world look to America to set a moral standard. In charity, we have an opportunity to show the world the our values as a society.
Jesus was a Child Refugee
America earned its charitable reputation by establishing our nation based upon Christian values and the life of Jesus. According to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the time of Herod the Great. Following a visit by the Magi who gave him gifts and worshiped him as King of the Jews, his life was in danger. One night, Angels visited Joseph in a dream and warned him that Herod was out to kill the newborn baby. The family fled to Egypt for their safety.
For Christians who have misgivings about helping people who have been (unfairly) labeled as terrorists, please ask yourselves, “What would Jesus do?” Indeed, a universal truth of all great religions is the cultivation of compassion toward others and charitable service to those in need. At this time, let us remember the families in crisis and act compassionately to help the children of Syria today.
Make a Difference
If you would like to help Syrian families in crisis, U.S Fund for UNICEF, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Save the Children, and Mercy Corps, are accepting donations and coordinating relief efforts.
February 16, 2017
February 14, 2017
February 11, 2017