Aleppo’s devastation at the hands of the Syrian regime and its allies is once again making headlines.
The Syrian regime has now entered the city, with Russian aircover and Iranian-backed militias surrounding its outskirts. There have been reports of summary executions of men suspected of being rebels, and women committing suicide to avoid being raped by Assad’s forces.
While a ceasefire was initially declared, it has crumbled as Iranian militias blocked civilian evacuations and the Russian military resumed its shelling. Amidst the carnage, the people of Aleppo began making their last pleas for help.
With a new ceasefire deal now reached and evacuations underway, there is a short reprieve from the siege and, at least, a sense that lives may be saved. Aleppo’s situation is still dire, however.
We can stand by no longer. Now is the time to do something.
The following is a list of short- and long-term actions for Syria, beginning with immediate actions, ways to stay informed, pages to follow on Facebook, Syrian activists and journalists to follow, organizations to support, books to purchase, and finally, important reminders and talking points for organizers and activists.
- The organization Books Not Bombs created a list of four immediate action items you can take for Aleppo. You can see it here.
- Watch ‘The White Helmets’ on Netflix
- Subscribe to the Syria Direct newsletter, to receive breaking news updates.
Facebook Pages to Follow
Syrian Activists and Journalists to Follow
- Rami Jarrah
- Kenan Rahmani
- Lina Sergie
- Shiyam Galyon
- Loubna Mrie
- Zaher Sahloul
- Leila Al Shami
- Marcell Shehwaro
- Karam Nachar
Organizations to Support
- Karam Foundation
- Syrian American Medical Society
- NuDay Syria
- The White Helmets
- Doctors Without Borders
Books to Purchase
- Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami
- The Crossing: My Journey To the Shattered Heart of Syria by Samar Yazbek
- A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution by Samar Yazbek
For Organizers and Activists
- Organize events and programs on Syria and make sure you invite Syrians to speak. Ultimately, it is their struggle, their homeland, and their pain to bear before anyone else’s, so center their voices first and foremost.
- Write about Syria as you would any other grassroots struggle, i.e., by recognizing that the Syrian people have agency, that they have the right to resist tyranny in all its forms, the right to live in freedom and dignity, and that they are not just another expendable talking point for perennial ‘anti-imperialist’ diatribes.
- Resist perpetuating narratives that frame the conflict as a zero-sum game, and call out others for adopting these perspectives, e.g., reducing Syria to ‘either Assad or ISIS,’ or a Sunni vs. Shi’a sectarian war.
- Don’t mince facts. The primary state actors responsible for most of the carnage in the war are the Syrian regime, Russia, and Iran. Non-state actors siding with these entities include Lebanese Hezbollah and various other militias. These facts are undisputed. Tell them like it is.
- Push back against Islamophobic narratives on both the left and the right.
- Work with your local International Rescue Committee branch or other refugee-focused organizations. If there are none, create the space to organize for refugee awareness on your campus, in your neighborhood, or at your house of worship.
- Use intersectionality. No one is free until we are all free.
- If you are already part of a local religious congregation, a union, or a student club, use this platform to organize prayers, vigils, film screenings, protests, and other events. Look for Syrian organizations to partner with, and publicize these events to show solidarity.
- Continue to pressure your government and the Russian embassy in your country to demand that they take action to cease hostilities.
- Be angry, and let that anger channel toward constructive action. Remain hopeful and optimistic. Most importantly of all, remember that revolution is an idea, and an idea cannot be killed.