The civil unrest in Syria, a country in Western Asia, has been in the news for quite a while. More recently, the government of Syria came under fire for using chemical weapons on its citizens, an act that is prohibited during any war. So what can other countries do to help? Well, in this case, three countries decided to attack the Syrian government and disarm the chemical weapons.
But wait, why would the government use weapons against its own people in the first place? President Bashar al-Assad has been facing criticism for policies leading to an unhappy and dissatisfied public, and when protestors joined forces in an effort to topple the government, the situation became more serious. Countries started to take sides based on their own priorities. Russia and Iran support the Syrian government because of existing relationships with the government, while Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France want the government to play by the rules defined by international agreements.
Last week, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom launched airstrikes (attacks via aircraft) to destroy the government facilities housing chemical weapons. This was also a warning to the government that they should not use chemical weapons again.
What does this mean to the people of Syria? They struggle every day for food, medicine, and other basic supplies as the forces around them continue to fight. Almost half the country’s population has been displaced and moved to other countries to restart their lives.
How might your community help those such as the Syrian refugees who are displaced by war? What challenges do you think refugees might face in their new countries?