Syrians Continue To Suffer And Must Not Be Forgotten
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Syrians Continue To Suffer And Must Not Be Forgotten

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Statement by Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the Syria crisis:

As the world continues to rally around Ukraine to help them defend against the illegal invasion from Russia, the humanitarian crisis in Syria has entered into its eleventh year. A crisis that has stemmed from the Arab Spring uprising out of unhappiness with the Bashar al-Assad authoritarian regime.

What started in March of 2011 as a peaceful protest against a dictatorial government, turned into an all-out civil war with a mounting death toll of over 350,000 and 13.5 million people forcibly displaced. In 2021, the Syrian people held their presidential election with the hopes of ousting al-Assad but were unsuccessful. The election was not considered to be free or fair and returned al-Assad’s government with a plurality of 78%.

“While we look with shock and horror at what is unfolding in Ukraine, we are reminded of the intense and worsening suffering that the Syrian population has endured for 11 long years. One of the greatest human tragedies of our time has gotten worse over the last year in the shadow of crises elsewhere.

“In Syria today, more parents than ever cannot afford to put food on the table. Their children go to bed on empty stomachs night after night. Bread, fuel, electricity and clean water are out of reach for millions. Almost seven million people still rely on aid to buy food, stay in a safe shelter and go to school. The international community must not walk away from the steadfast commitment it made.

“In the past two weeks, Europe has shown that it is possible to mobilize tremendous resources for the vulnerable in their hour of greatest need. It is paramount that countries also open their doors and resources to Syrians who urgently need aid, protection and safety.”

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