If you’re anything like me, concerned about the situation in Syria and Aleppo but not particularly well-versed on the extraordinarily complicated war in that region, here’s a list of a few resources that may be able to help.
In March, BBC published this 8 step list to understanding the conflict in Syria. With pictures, stats and quotes from victims, they take through all the events that turned uprising into war, explaining how the involvement of countries like Iran, Russia, and the US have made things more than complicated.
Vox has also come out with some great videos that attempt to capture the narrative of who’s on what side and why. This one came out last year, but it does a fantastic job of showing all the parties that have stakes in the conflict and explaining how they got involved. This one is more hot off the press, focusing on the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, and it narrates well how the city and its civilians became trapped in one of the most horrific sieges we’ve seen recently.
If you’re interested in dedicating a little more time to get the full story, US journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem has been recording videos from Aleppo, getting footage of the sites being destroyed and interacting with civilians as well as with leaders of the different groups involved. His videos shed some light on the conditions of the people living outside of the city, and his website, On the Ground News, essentially serves as a blog for all things Aleppo. If you want, begin with his “3 Questions to Clarify What’s Really Happening in Aleppo,” or dive into all his stuff here. Warning, though, some of the footage and pictures are shockingly disturbing.
Whether you know a lot or nothing at all about the backstory and explanation of what is happening and why, you probably know from images being shared on social media as well as the #PrayforAleppo movement that there are some horrifying violations of human rights happening over in that part of our planet. It’s easy to feel helpless when scrolling through articles and images on Facebook, but the least we could do is inform ourselves. The slaughter and torture of innocent people in Aleppo may be a testimony to the darkest realities of humanity’s potential, but shutting it out of our minds can be harmful. We are fortunate to be the ones watching the conflict rather than suffering under it, so we may as well use our computer screens to educate ourselves for the future; after all, you never know what change you may one day be able to make.