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Marking the 10th anniversary of the Syrian conflict

12 March 2021

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Since the start of the Syrian war, more than twice the population of Scotland has fled their homes, as many as 12,000 children have been killed and wounded and, in what is the biggest refugee crisis on record, Syrians account for almost a third of all refugees worldwide.

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Today, we are calling on Scots to remember Syrians whose lives have been torn apart by the brutal war as we mark the tenth anniversary of the conflict today.

Almost the entire population of Syria (80%) now lives below the poverty line and an estimated three million have some form of disability or lifelong impairment due to a combination of violence and a broken health system. Syrians now also face the impact of the coronavirus and those in refugee camps and informal settlements are at particular risk due to the lack of safe water and the ability to social distance. 

“The Syrian war is taking an unimaginable toll on the lives of women, men and children caught up in this major humanitarian crisis." 

- Alistair Dutton, SCIAF Chief Executive

A whole generation of children is growing up knowing nothing but war and destitution, and more than half of Syrian children are missing out on an education. Sadly, these children also account for four out of five Syrian refugees. 

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They represent the future, the hope for a ‘new Syria’ and the responsibility of rebuilding Syria will fall on them. These children and their families cannot be forgotten and desperately need our help.

Alistair also stressed that more needs to be done on an international level to help find a resolution to this protracted war.

"The Syrian conflict shows no signs of ending and the UK and the international community must put aside their differences and do everything they can to bring an end to the conflict in Syria and the suffering of millions of Syrians. Ten years is already too long and has caused untold damage. This must stop now."

This month, the UK government announced it’s considering cutting humanitarian aid to Syria by 67%, and to Lebanon the second biggest recipient of Syrian refugees, by 88%.

We condemned the news together with more than a hundred charities, as well as conservative MPs and the leaders of opposition parties. The planned cuts will hit the world’s most vulnerable people hardest.

The cuts are part of a major reduction to the UK’s aid budget despite the 0.7% Gross National Income (GNI) commitment being a Conservative manifesto pledge since the 2010 general election. The charities believe it will destroy the UK’s global reputation as a country that steps up to help those most in need and are calling on the government to reverse its plan to cut the UK aid budget or at least give MPs a say in the decision.

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"The people of Syria are exhausted, their lives have been shattered, and they are trapped in a country broken by war. As we enter the eleventh year of this brutal war this is not the time to turn our backs on Syrians who need our support more than ever. I urge the UK government to rethink its decision to cut a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable people who are already on their knees. This is Little Britain, not Global Britain."

Together with our partners, we work in Idlib, Homs, Aleppo and Damascus to provide food, water and essentials in Syria and neighouring countries. We're helping families to rebuild homes and livelihoods destroyed in the violent conflict.

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Slowly the experiences of fear, hunger and suffering felt by Syrians are being replaced by the hope that they can rebuild, grow and thrive once again.