Thursday 10 March 2016

Syria… Five years on

A post by Dr Sharif K al-Ghazal of the Syrian Association of Yorkshire—one in a series of reflections to mark the 5th anniversary of the Syrian Revolution.

Five years, five long years and still the Syrian people demand their freedom. They have been resisting a tyrannical regime; one ruled by a family of corrupt autocrats for 46 years. But the recent entry of Daesh into the fray has muddied the waters within the media narrative. Unlike back in 2011, Syria is increasingly being seen through the lens of counter-terrorism as opposed to a people’s revolt as it should be. Realities on the ground dictate that until the very recent ceasefire, widespread protests were impossible; that should not however mask the reality of the situation on the ground and the Syrian people’s hatred of both the Assad regime and Daesh and their yearning for freedom.

The international community has failed the Syrian people. Syria has been abandoned, its people forgotten; left to starve and fend for themselves. When the international community had the opportunity to assist the Syrian people in the early days of the revolution they made the wrong choice and failed to help. Furthermore, the humanitarian aid that has been offered has been meagre and has contributed very little within the greater scheme of things. Moreover, the failure of the international community to stand beside the Syrian people against the brutal Assad regime and its Iranian allies opened up a vacuum for extremists to exploit; one that spawned the death cult that is Daesh. To make matters even more grave, Russia has intervened on the side of the Assad regime under the pretext of attacking Daesh though it has just brought with it more death and destruction, killing civilians in rebel held areas and making the situation even more bleak.

Established in early 2013 in the midst of the Syrian crisis, the Syrian Association of Yorkshire (SAY) has been working tirelessly on a number of projects in this time. It started by raising awareness of the Syrian conflict and working with the local community to fund various humanitarian projects to help the people of Syria. More recently, it has been assisting Syrian refugees in settling into the country and integrating into their new society. From running language classes to practical workshops, it aims to help refugees feel more settled and acclimatised to their new community.

More recently, SAY has been successfully working with local politicians and the media culminating in various TV and radio interviews as well as meetings with high profile MPs within the Yorkshire region. This has helped further the cause of the Syrian people thousands of miles away.

From March 2011 till March 2016… The people STILL want to topple the regime.

Dr Sharif K al-Ghazal
The Syrian Association of Yorkshire

Syrians and their supporters will join together in London on 12th March to mark the 5th anniversary of the Syrian revolution. The demonstration assembles 12 noon at Paddington Green, London W2.