“We live in constant fear of whether we will live or die. I want the rockets to stop. I want to go back to my home and live peacefully.”--Manal*, a mother of two from Hama.
As war rages on in Syria for the third consecutive year, the civilian population is suffering extreme violence. Since 2012, we’ve been talking with civilians in Syria—and refugees who fled to Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon—about their experiences and what post-harm assistance they need to rebuild and recover from the harm. Our team interviewed Syrians of varied backgrounds, a population including leaders of the political and armed opposition, Syrian army defectors, UN staff, local and international NGO staff, government and military officials, lawmakers, diplomats, doctors and nurses, journalists, civil society activists, and religious leaders.
Syrians raised concerns about the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance and the need to plan for assistance to civilians who have been harmed. We brought these concerns, and practical measures to address them, to senior Syrian opposition officials and policymakers.
We have also spoken extensively with the armed opposition about civilian protection, and what policies its leadership maintains to minimize harm to the population.
Our recent public documents include recommendations to nations offering the Syrian opposition technical and material assistance, an issue brief on Civilian Protection in Syria analyzing the civilian protection mindset of the armed opposition, and a second brief describing what Syrians told us about the harm they suffered and types of assistance they need. In early 2013, we convened an expert roundtable to consider the impact of foreign military involvement in Syria on civilians.
Photo by Nicole Tung