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Syria Crisis - It's about the people

Saha Ibrahim and baby - Syria crisis

SCIAF Media Officer Val Morgan highlights the sheer volume of people caught up in the Syria crisis

How can so much pain and suffering be inflicted upon a people and no notice be taken by those that are inflicting it. Tell me the ideology or political view that outweighs the right to life?

The number of people who have lost their homes or been forced to flee has now reached 6.2 million. Around 40,000 civilians have been killed, including 4,000 women and 5,800 children. Millions of refugees, the majority being women and children, have fled for their lives over the borders into neighboring countries. Still more are coming and the battles continue to rage in Syria.

But behind every single number there is a fellow human being who cherishes life, loves his or her family, and simply wants to live in peace. Why don't those in power get this simple truth?

Shaha and Abboud Ibrahim have two lovely girls and fled from Hasaki in Syria. When an eighteen day battle raged around them they were trapped. When they and their children emerged into daylight so they could escape buildings continued to burn around them and dead bodies littered the streets. Abboud told me:

“A lot of our neighbours were killed or injured by shrapnel, we saw their bodies – we thought we would be next – the children were starving. We fled into the wild. It took us a month to walk to Lebanon.”

When all this occurred Shaha was three months pregnant. Thankfully her lovely child, Byane who is now two months old, was born safely and is part of a loving family.

It seems that every refugee I have met has lost someone, and their current life is extremely difficult. Ahmad had five brothers – now two are dead - the others remain in Syria. He lives with his wife and children, and his five sisters-in-law and their children.

Now their situation is just about bearable as they stay in a hand-built shack made of plastic sheeting and some breeze-blocks. Though the children are often ill and haven’t been to school since they fled, their lives have improved recently. Up to a couple of months ago they had all been living in a cow shed three metres by five metres with a sewerage pipe with human waste flowing from it. I saw it with my own eyes and couldn’t imagine being in such a bad situation that moving into that foul cowshed was a step in the right direction.

Throughout these meetings I was accompanied by the good staff of SCIAF’s sister agency Caritas Lebanon who walk alongside those who are hurting, as well as provide them with practical aid such as food, hygiene kits, blankets, mattresses, fuel, stoves and medical care. They are a constant reminder that there is good in the world.

For all the badness that people are capable of, I keep in mind that they are always outnumbered by the good people on our planet. However, when I witness situations like I've seen in Lebanon this week, I sometimes wonder.

Keep up to date on the Syrian refugee crisis at www.sciaf.org.uk/syriacrisis

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