Image 1 of 10: 1104 days since Deraa: Police arrested and tortured 15 school kids for writing anti-regime graffiti in Deraa. Tension between the Alawite ruling elite and the Sunni majority reached a tipping point - the govt cracked down on peaceful protests, launching Damascus into a bloody conflict surpassing what was seen in the Arab Spring.
Image 1 of 10: 15 months since intl flights were cut off: As violence rapidly spread across Syria and the conflict rocked the international community, many airlines stopped their flights to Damascus by mid-2012. EgyptAir’s last flight came about in Dec ‘12 when clashes between the regime and rebels forced the airline to call the Damascus-bound plane to Cairo.
Image 1 of 10: 20 months since most embassies closed: Assad’s ally Russia still has a functioning embassy in Damascus, but most diplomats left the Syrian capital by mid-2012 for both security and political reasons. While the US and the UK were two of the first to end their missions by March 2012, most EU and Arab League nations followed suit by August.
Image 1 of 10: At least 240,000 people living under siege: By trapping civilians and supplies from entering and exiting village confines, both sides of the conflict have caused thousands to die from starvation and disease. Polio, eradicated in Syria for over a decade, re-emerged in many communities under sieges.
Image 1 of 10: 1,400 killed Ghouta chemical attack: The August 2012 chemical attack put Syria in the spotlight. Rebels say 1,400 died - many of them women and children. It resulted in an international deal over Damascus’ chemical weapons. That hasn’t stopped Assad dragging his feet though - Syria’s already missed several key deadlines.
Image 1 of 10: Millions displaced: With at least 2.5 million forced into neighboring countries and 6.5 million internally displaced, a refugee crisis is sweeping the region. According to UNHCR data, 1 million refugees have entered Lebanon, and over half a million have gone to Turkey and Jordan. And that’s not including those who are outside the UN system.
Image 1 of 10: At least $2.2 billion aid donated: Despite these billions, only 14% of the UN’s emergency response appeal has been received. Aid flows have become tangled up in the conflict, with world powers’ backing of opposition and regime forces making humanitarian efforts inexorably linked to politics.
Image 1 of 10: 67 days since the UN stopped tracking Syria’s death toll: Citing data gaps and the difficulty of gathering correct data on the ground, the UN decided to officially end its Syria death toll count in early January 2014. Even without an official count, the daily clashes, airstrikes, and suicide bombings making the numbers rise steadily.
Image 1 of 10: 38 states involved in Syria peace talks: Brokered by the UN, the Syrian opposition and regime delegations came together with dozens of other states in an attempt to secure peace. Sadly, the Geneva II conference ended in stalemate with the regime blacklisting the opposition delegation members and arresting their family members back in Syria.
Image 1 of 10: One nation still torn: The world’s media may have “Syria fatigue” but on the anniversary of the March 15 protests that paved the path for the beginning of Syria’s brutal revolution, we remember the estimated 140,000 people who have lost their lives and loved ones in the struggle as we strive to keep hope for a brighter day in Syria.
The Ides of March now marks a new era of uprising and tragedy: the ongoing Syrian Civil War. In March 2011, pro-democracy protests in Syria’s southern city of Deraa launched the country a civil war - a major turning point not only in Syria’s history, but that of the region and the world as well.
The conflict - that has been drawn on sectarian lines and has regional powers dabbling in it - has never been anything less than complex. However, with international media outlets and world leaders touting headlines and trading banter on the future of Syria almost daily, understanding of the war itself has been reduced to daily doses of political pawning and gawking at the human atrocities unfolding within Syria’s borders. In other words, the international community’s interest and attention to the issue has been more like a fair-weather friend, and at other times, completely numb to the growing number of clashes and rising death toll.
In light of the three-year anniversary since the start of the Syrian conflict, we hope that you will take a pause with us now and look at this slideshow that attempts to capture the complexity, longevity and lasting mark that has been left on not only the Syrian people, but the region and world more broadly as the Syrian conflict enters into its fourth year.