By Madison Lynch
LifeLine Syria is organization helping willing Canadians with the process and paperwork to privately sponsor Syrian refugees to bring them to Canada. Lifeline Syria will help 1,000 Syrian refugees to be settled throughout the Greater Toronto Area over the next two years. The private sponsorship amount required by the federal Government is $27,000 for a family of four persons or $12,700 for an individual refugee to cover the basic first year’s necessities when they arrive. This cost covers the bare minimum, including bringing them to Canada, housing, food, clothing and furnishings for the first twelve months. This will also assist them with language barriers to help intergrade them into the Canadian education system as well as make all necessary health connections. Donations to LifeLine Syria can be made at Toronto Foundation by cash, cheque or online. You can also contribute by donating your Aeroplan Miles to LifeLine Syria. This year alone EU countries have had over 400 000 Syrians arrive seeking refuge. The Canadian government has committed to resettling 15 000 refugees by the end of February 2016 and has contributed $403 million in humanitarian aid to the Syrian crisis. Religion and politics aside, these are innocent people, majority being children who are traumatized by war. Children who are forced from their home, separated from their family and robbed of an education. They are suffering through appalling living conditions fleeing from a war-torn country and fewer then 1% will ever have to chance to be re-settled over seas.
Syria is controlled and dominated by a single political party. The government monitors everything civilians do and see, they filter media news outlets and social media outlets are blocked to the public. The conflict in Syria began in March 2011, in Daraa, a southern city in Syria when pro-democracy protestors took to the streets. The anti-government conflicts only escalated, and within only four months by July 2011 hundreds of thousands of civilians took to the streets, eventually resorting to firearms as a means to protect them selves from security forces. The violence only continued as the country descends into a civil war, with task-forces formed by the rebels to battle the government for control of land, towns and cities across the country. Two years later, in June 2013 the UN states that over 90 000 people have been killed in this conflict.
Over the past five years it has become more then just a battle for or against President Assad. Capitalizing on the chaos extreme Jihadist group, Islamic State (ISIS) started to rise when the al Qaeda leader praised Syrians for pursuing “jihad” (Islamic term referring to the religious duty of Muslims to maintain the religion), causing thousands of rebels to join ISIS forces. The ultimate goal of the Islamic State is to have Muslims across the world pledge allegiance to it’s leader and migrate to territory that ISIS has control over. In August 2014 ISIS gained global recognition when they released a video that shows the beheading of American journalist James Foley, who is one of several Western journalists and aid workers in Syria to be murdered by the Islamic State. Responding quickly, in September 2014 the US led coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq as American jets begin bombing ISIS targets in effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State. Although the coalition avoids attacks that may benefit President Assad and Syria’s government, they are not launching attacks that intervene in the civil war between the government and rebels. After the recent attacks in Paris ISIS is showing no signs of retreat any time soon. In fact these recent attacks have caused a heartbreaking Islamophoic backlash about Western countries, including Canada, accepting refugees. It is important for us as Canadians to contribute to helping remove the innocent people from these areas of distress. Turning our back on humans in such a vulnerable state only makes it easier for ISIS to gain followers.
Over the years this conflict has now turned into a war within a war. Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011, Syria now faces the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II, with over 250 000 people killed and 11 million forced to leave their homes. Reports estimate a total economic loss of $202 billion, with 4 out of 5 Syrians now living in poverty; education, wealth and social welfare are in a serious state of collapse. According to the UN there is an estimated 12.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance right now, with 5.6 million being children. To meet the vital needs of the most vulnerable Syrians it will take $8.4 billion; only less then half that amount has been raised so far.
Here are some statistics from the UNHRC of registered refugees that have relocated to Syria’s neighboring countries as of May 2014.
These devastating numbers continue to rise every day making the entire Middle East vulnerable to threat.
SYRIA BEFORE AND AFTER
To help contribute please visit www.lifelinesyria.ca