The Syrian conflict is entering its fifth horrific year of escalating violence, with little sign of ending. More than 200,000 people have been killed, 10,000 of them children. Today over 12.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 5.6 million children. Almost 11 million Syrians have been displaced within and outside Syria, including 3.3 million refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. More than half of the refugee population are children, and 114,000 children have been born as refugees.
During this holiday season, Canadians come together to care for one another -- we find ways to support our local communities. As we get ready to celebrate the beginning of 2015, I would like to share with you my wishes for the children who are suffering through the world's worst humanitarian crises.
As Muslims celebrate Eid, it's important to look at the past month during which the world has witnessed thousands suffer in Gaza, Iraq and Syria. We has Prime Minister Stephen Harper to speak out about these issues, but are disappointed. We must do more in the name of humanity, Prime Minister Harper.
In the annals of human evil, Rwanda's genocide takes a special place. With a kill rate of about six people a minute for more than three months, it's likely one of the fastest mass slaughters of humans in history. Most were hacked to death by machete, partly because the perpetrators found it cheaper than using bullets.
The international community must strengthen its efforts to work towards a political solution to the Syrian civil war. It cannot afford to lose focus, as the children of Syria cannot afford another year of suffering, another year without education, healthcare, and protection. There are no enemy children, and we must do whatever it takes to save lives.
Professor Greyson and Tarik Loubani, an emergency doctor from London, Ont., went to Egypt despite the unrest. They seemed not to know about the animosity between Egypt and Gaza, between the Egyptians and Hamas. Now, we Canadians will have to get him out of jail where he has been incarcerated since August 26.
The footage of purported victims of recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria shows a distressing number of children's corpses... but then both Saddam Hussein and Hezbollah have been accused of stockpiling such corpses in the past to reserve for media events. The Syrian National Front might be no different.
When Ariya slips into the car, she must carry two sets of clothes: a hijab, and western garb. Without both, she risks arrest, beating, and rape. Ariya believes the trip is worth the risk -- she counsels some of the estimated 1,500 Syrian women who have been victims of sexual assault in Syria's bloody civil war.
Syria is now a failed state. The fact that Assad used Sarin against a small number of people may indicate panic by local officials, or more likely a considered policy of the gradual introduction of this new escalation. That is why all eyes are again on Washington. This is show-time; the world is watching and many habitual trouble-makers, including perhaps even the mischievous and treacherous gangster thugdom of Putin's Russia, are more amenable than they have been to support an effective intervention by the United States in Syria. If not now, when?
As the civil war in Syria continues, a significant number of Syrians remain loyal to the embattled government of Bashar Al-Assad. One Christian friend explained to me that although they didn't like the current regime, they considered it inevitable that, should it fall, Syria would descend into a state of violent chaos reminiscent of Afghanistan or Somalia.
The Syrian government has now established a permanent network of surveillance over the old city. One night recently I was strolling through the souq and saw a figure walking slowly ahead of me in the poorly-lit passage, an object dangling from their arm. When I drew within a few paces, he started and turned quickly to face me, watching me closely as I passed.
The Sunday before last, a bomb exploded in Bab Touma Square in the middle of the morning, killing 13 people and injuring several others. While bombings of government targets and public spaces have become increasingly common over the last few months, this attack constituted the first of its kind in the old city since Syria's political crisis began in March last year.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the country as a direct result of the violence that has engulfed the country since the outbreak of the civil war. Meanwhile, many of those that have so far escaped the violence are suffering the economic consequences of the crisis and are thus trying desperately to find a way to escape the country.