Syria Humanitarian CrisisThey return the money you put in their hands, they kiss you, hug you and yet they've never met you, they offer you olives but have nothing to eat, they give you the widest smile, totally disarming, yet they face the greatest difficulty and intolerable hardship. These are the CHILDREN of Azaz,"Free" Syria, victims of a brutal war that has left them hungry, thirsty, homeless, orphaned, diseased and cold. Yet they are the strongest symbols of hope and faith, their steadfastness, their conviction that they shall overcome humbles you. You feel their pain, their desperation; the Al Jazeera Turkey bureau chief breaks down: "I can't take it anymore and I've seen this suffering for two months only".
The elderly come to us. "Will you help us? Will you help our children" The pleading look in the eyes of a broken parent more passionate and more powerful then the voice and the words. "Many have come here, taken pictures and never came back and yet we wait patiently. Will you come back? Will South Africa help us?"
Four million internal refugees in the Aleppo region. In Al Salameh they slept on the hard ground in open air, 6000 using one toilet; no sanitation, no facilities. The world has deserted them, shells have battered them, disease has weakened them, hunger has overtaken them and biting cold threatens them.
No sign of any relief agency except IHH that provided a mobile clinic and food but how can one agency manage with these enormous volumes of displaced people. Flimsy plastic tents dislodge in the strong winds injuring children; this is the only form of housing. The stench of sewerage, absence of clean drinking water, virtually no food, no heating and no blankets spells catastrophe; biting winter is only days away.
The emotional and psychological trauma clearly visible as they point out with trembling voice and tearing eyes an area where 70 people were killed with one bomb, mostly women and childen. The concern for your safety so apparent; "please let's go, we don't want you to be a martyr here, the bombs will be here just now".
We see the frightened look in the eyes of parents in the school. "The government has the maps, they know the school, they know we are hiding here, we are like rabbits, we may be bombed next". What could be more traumatising?
Syria needs an appropriate intervention. This crisis cannot be ignored any longer.
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