Syria is a country in the Middle East that has been caught up in a civil war for the last 6 years. The main reason is – different groups within Syria are trying to take control of the country.
There are mainly three groups involved in the fighting. Soldiers who support the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; people who do not want Assad to be in power – they are called rebels; and a group of militants from the so-called Islamic State.
The conflict began in 2011. Some teenagers had spray-painted anti government slogans on a school wall. These teenagers were arrested and tortured. Angry at the terrible way these young students were treated, people began protesting against the government.
The government used force to try and crush the rebellion. But instead of scaring the protestors, it made them more determined to continue fighting. Hundreds of thousands of protestors took to streets across the country and they gradually began to take up arms, first as a way to protect themselves, but later, they would use these weapons to fight government forces.
The situation quickly turned very violent. Soldiers and rebels began clashing in cities, towns and the countryside. Hundreds of thousands of people in Syria have died since the fighting began. Millions of people who are stuck inside Syria desperately need help. Cities have been destroyed and there is very little food and medical care. Schools have been reduced to rubble or have shut down. Very few places have power or running water. The economy has been affected, there are very few jobs and there is a lot of poverty. People have lost their homes, family members and friends.
Because life in Syria is so dangerous, many people are fleeing the country. Around 5 million people have escaped since the fighting began, mostly women and children. These people are called refugees and they have gone to neighboring countries of Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan and to countries in Europe. It is said to be one of the largest refugee exoduses ever.
When will the fighting end? It doesn’t look like there is any relief in sight. The government and the rebels are unable to defeat each other and they cannot agree on the best way forward for their country either. Sadly, Syria’s future remains uncertain.
This article was written by Mallika Kapur, a journalist and a mom!