The ongoing war in Syria

Synne Elise Berg

The conflict in Syria, is something we hear about constantly. Whether it is on school, on the news, or at home. But, what is really going on? How did it start out, what is the situation right now, and can we help? If so, what can we do to help?

What began as a peaceful uprising against the president in Syria in year 2011, Bashar Al-Assad, developed to a civil war that is responsible for over 470,000 lives, mostly civilians, and approximately 11 million Syrians do not longer have a home and are refugees on the run. Syria as a country was not in a good place, due to high unemployment, widespread corruption and a huge lack of political freedom, and the citizens were not satisfied and wanted a change. It is hard for us, who live a life that they could only dream about, to understand what really is going on and to realize that the high numbers are actual innocent human beings, just like you and me.

Can you imagine being just a little child, seeing your neighbors being killed, and family members being bombed? Can you imagine being a mom, and the only option you have is to risk your and your family’s life, in hope for a better life?

The unrest in the country spread fast. In March 2011, pro-democracy demonstrations were inspired by Arab Spring. This erupted in the south, in the city of Deraa. Protests began, and Syrian citizens did all they could to defend themselves and to express their opinions and beliefs. This has led to the high numbers of 13.5 million Syrians who are requiring emergency, humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and over 4.8 million are refugees outside of Syria, according to the United Nations (UN), as of 2016. Where are all these refugees? where are they escaping, and why are they escaping?

Lots of refugees are risking their lives to go to other countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 4.8 million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, and 6.6 million are internally displaced within Syria. Also, there are about one million Syrian refugees who have requested asylum to Europe. The problem is that not all countries are able to, or have decided not to take the refugees in. The Syrians are not only leaving their country due to war, but because there is no other option. The amount of numerous bombs, shootings and violence has killed 470,000 people, 55,000 of them children, according to Children are being killed day after day. Just little kids who are innocent, and just wanted a happy life, just like kids in every other country in the world. Isn’t that unfair?

Why are we given such privilege in life, and they get killed or witness their family members being bombed or shot to death? Violence is not only what is responsible for the many deaths, but 70 percent lack regular access to clean water and four-fifths of the population live in extreme poverty, and can barely afford normal living expenses that we take for granted, such as groceries and electricity. Also, approximately half of the country’s children are out of school, meaning they will not get a good education, in fact – not any education at all.

We can not change the past, nor make the war stop immediately, but we certainly can help. Many of us might think that there are unfortunately nothing we can do as individuals to help, so what can we do, to help those who suffer?

First of all, you can donate how much money you want to Syrian refugees, but make sure you are donating through a reliable site, such as and International Red Cross at You can educate yourself as much as you can, so that you know what exactly is going on and why so much help is needed. Third, you can set up your own fundraising page. Donations will provide immediate assistance, including food, water, access to sanitation, legal services and medical care for all refugees in need. You can advocate with sending an e-mail to Congress, stating your opinion on what the US, as a powerful country, can do. You can use social media, which is one of the best ways to express your own opinion as well as engaging others to donate and help.