By: Kara Haselton
“What is Aleppo?”
The name of new skyscraper? A national park? A self-driving car?
It’s a town in Syria. A town that holds a people whose population is dwindling each day.
And you don’t even know about it.
Gary Johnson, a presidential candidate, doesn’t even know about it.
However, I don’t blame you for being unaware. This town in Syria has gotten hardly any coverage even though it’s being decimated by regional conflict. I was telling a friend about disturbing statistics and pictures, and she had never heard of Aleppo until I mentioned it.
There’s something wrong with that.
Aleppo, for the large majority who don’t know, is a town in Syria. It’s one of the oldest cities in the Middle East and important for the Syrian economy. According to BBC, it was the one city the Syrian government was determined to keep out of the Syrian civil war. Obviously, that didn’t work. Half of Aleppo was captured by the rebel forces, while the other half was secured by the Syrian government. It has become a “key battleground” for the war in Syria that started in 2011.
But why does Aleppo matter?
There are about 300,000 people trapped in the city. At least 100,000 of those are children. They have no, or very little, access to water, food, and other supplies. They can’t leave. Their own government, the Syrian government, is bombing the eastern side of Aleppo — the side that was taken over by rebels. The children are forced to attend school underground, literally.
The thing is, while the government is bombing their own city with the purpose to stall the rebels and terminate their supplies, the people they’re impacting the most are just that– regular people. Regular citizens. Families with older relatives or young kids.
The already needy and innocent have been given a death sentence.
Two hospitals were bombed on September 28. According to Al Jazeera News, the hospitals were deliberately attacked. These hospitals were two of six operational hospitals in Aleppo, stated Adham Sahloul of the Syrian American Medical Society in an interview with Aljazeera. But just because the hospitals are “operational” does not mean that they have even close to the man-power and supplies to provide for all the needs of the Syrian people in Aleppo.
Simultaneously, the Syrian civil war has been ongoing since 2011. People have been fleeing and leaving Syria for five years. It would make sense that a lot of those people were probably doctors or medical staff. So how much medical help does Aleppo really have?
According to UOSSM-Canada.org, 340 kids under the age of 18 were killed by airstrikes or war-caused wounds.
Imagine if you went to school in fear each day knowing there’s a chance you wouldn’t be going home. Imagine if you knew that ‘goodbye mom’ might be your last words to her. Maybe you cry everyday on your way to school because your best friend just down the street was killed by a shell last week, and you never know if that could be you today?
Or maybe your worst fears aren’t the bombings raining like 4 o’clock showers, but it’s the uncertainty of where you’re going to get food next.
There’s something perverted about the way mass numbers of people, human beings, are being killed, yet they’re not visible to the eyes of the world. It’s sad. It needs to change. The US has shown no sign of supporting and aiding Aleppo at all, but that doesn’t mean her people should stand by idly. You can donate to organizations like UNHCR, which is the refugee organization working in Syria and Aleppo, or to the International Rescue Committee, which is an organization working with Syrian children and getting aid into the city. There’s a number of organizations you can contribute to that are trying to provide relief for these peoples. Even just educating others about this catastrophe could make a difference.
If you would like to know more about why you should care about Aleppo, go to http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/04/middleeast/aleppo-what-will-make-you-care-trnd/, CNN released a great article listing many facts about why Americans should care, even though it’s not our country.