The Syrian conflict has dominated our headlines for close to five years now. In the last few weeks however, the war has reached crisis point as the Syrian government closes in on the last few pockets of rebel resistance.
The government’s overturning of rebel fighters does not guarantee peace – far from it. As one activist wrote in a WhatsApp message on Tuesday: “Anyone who knows anything about the Assad regime should know what to expect. Death will be a wish for those captured and deemed opposition, weather (sic) military or civil.”
It comes as no surprise, then, that more than 4.5 million people have fled Syria since the start of the conflict. This has led to a mass exodus of refugees to nearby Lebanon and Turkey, and further onwards to Northern Europe. The majority are women and children.
At times like these, it’s often difficult to know how you, as just one small voice in a sea of millions, could possibly help. However, it turns out that there are a few options that will have a direct positive effect on the crisis.
1. Join demonstrations
Protests against the emergency situation in Aleppo are being held across the world. Use the hashtag #StandWithAleppo to find demonstrations in your area.
2. Make your voice heard
Calling the offices of the people in power is one of the most effective ways to get them to listen. If you’re in the US, you can find your senator’s number here. You can call the National Security Council on 202 456 1111. Also, give Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the UN, a call on 212 415 4000.
If you’re in the UK, you can sign this petition urging the government to begin dropping aid on Aleppo.
It’s a sad fact that the Syrian government has been blocking UN aid shipments since July. If you want to make your money count, donating to any of these NGOs working on the ground in Syria is the way forward.
4. Volunteer your time
If you’re a medical professional, you can give doctors and nurses on the ground help and advice via Skype. Contact the SAMS Foundation for more information.
If you speak Arabic, your translation services could be of use to aid organisations working on the ground. Contact your local branch to find out how you can help.
5. Take someone in
Devastatingly, there is not currently a system in place to allow American citizens to open their homes to Syrian refugee children. If you’re in the UK however, you can tell your local government that you would be willing to temporarily foster an unaccompanied refugee child. The Australian, Canadian and German governments all have their own programmes.
By taking action, we can provide a glimmer of hope to the millions of displaced refugees who must take shelter in new countries around the world. This five-year-old boy is just one of the millions who will thank you.