"Syria is in flames. The international community has to find a path to a peace settlement. It is not enough to defend our values at home, in our newspapers and in our institutions. We also have to defend them in the refugee camps of the Middle East, and the ruined ghost towns of Syria"- Angelina Jolie
"The war in Syria may not represent the end of humanity, but every injustice committed is a chip in the facade of what holds us together"- Professor Stephen Hawking
"Taken from 500 miles above the earth, these satellite images help us understand the suffering and fear experienced by ordinary Syrians as their country is destroyed around them"- Dr Xi Li, lead researcher at Wuhan University in Chinaa
Lights going out
Satellite images show that 83% of the lights in Syria have gone out since March 2011. Years of brutal conflict have plunged Syria’s people into the dark. Millions have been forced to flee their homes and many are struggling to access the food, water and shelter they need to survive. Meanwhile, highly publicised extreme violence by cross-border terrorist groups has spread fear and refocused the world's attention on Syria. But it has also distracted from the daily suffering of ordinary Syrians and from the violations of international law and human rights committed by all sides. As the civilian death toll rises, and the repercussions of violence are felt thousands of miles away, it is clear that we must call on our governments to do more to drive away the darkness and help turn the lights back on.
Light in the darkness
In the face of fear and suffering ordinary Syrians are showing extraordinary courage. Teachers are risking their lives to keep schools running; volunteer rescue workers are pulling people from bombed out buildings; and doctors are operating with the light of mobile phones to save the wounded.
Driven by the human impulse to help their fellow citizens, protect their families, or simply to survive another day, these ordinary heroes are the chinks of light in the darkness. We must stand #WithSyria and demand that our leaders do more to end the suffering and bring about a solution to this conflict.
"Marwan was on the operating table when the lights blinked and fizzed out. The nurse pulled her mobile phone from her pocket – generating the only light in the pitch-black basement. Others followed suit, producing just enough light to allow me to finish repairing his broken little body"- Dr Hassan, operating in Aleppo, Syria
"One should never give up hope. I hold on to any bits of hope because I do not want to fall. Even if I do fall, I must stand up on my feet again in order to support and protect my kids"- Raya, mother of four who fled from Dara’a to a refugee camp in Jordan
- 83% of lights out across Syria since March 2011
- 97% of lights out in Aleppo
- 35% of lights out in the Governorate of Damascus
- Over 200,000 people killed since 2011
- 10 million people have fled their homes
- 3 million school-aged Syrian children no longer in school
Time to act
In February last year, the UN called for an end to attacks on civilians, and more humanitarian aid for the millions in need. Since then, over 15,000 civilians have been killed, many of them children. Access to relief has not improved and humanitarian funding has fallen compared to the needs.
This must change. Our governments must do more to end the suffering of the Syrian people.
"We've let the people of Syria down. While we are divided and pointing fingers and accusing each other, they are paying with their lives"- Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations
"We have run out of words to fully explain the brutality, violence and callous disregard for human life which is a hallmark of this crisis"- Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs