Late on Tuesday, December 13, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the UN Security Council that military action in eastern Aleppo was over. However, as BBC News reports, fighting in the Syrian capital has already resumed and has stalled a deal to evacuate rebel fighters and civilians.
Since November, Syrian government forces have regained the opposition-held east of the city. Tens of thousands of civilians are caught in the middle of the conflict. Many have fled the districts worst hit by the recent violence but the U.N. says hundreds have gone missing. U.N. agencies have relaid stories of indiscriminate killings and children under fire, while the International Committee of the Red Cross issued a release calling for parties to observe "the basic rules of warfare and of humanity" on Monday. Earlier this week those still in the east of the city were saying goodbye to family members through social media.
With the future for the innocent bystanders unclear, here are three ways in which you can help make a change right now.
1. Demonstrate In Your Local Area
Last night, December 13, protestors met outside 10 Downing Street and the Syrian Embassy in London while other events took place in Liverpool and Manchester in the U.K., and Washington, DC. Keep an eye on the Twitter hashtag #StandWithAleppo for news of further demonstrations in your area.
2. Speak Directly To Somebody In Power
If you're in the U.K. you can call or e-mail your local MP or MEP directly and urge them to help those affected by the violence in Aleppo. In the short term, aid is needed on the ground which the British government can help with. More long term, you can petition your local representatives to push for sanctions or diplomatic repercussions for the Syrian and Russian governments.
Additionally, let it be known that you welcome refugees in your area. Refugee resettlement in the U.K. is done on a voluntary basis by constituency so tell your MP if you would be willing to foster a child fleeing from Syria. Similarly you can tell the local council that you want the U.K. to take in more refugees than the 20,000 they have agreed to resettle by 2020.
The U.S. traditionally has a much more open policy toward helping those in need. However, just 10,000 Syrian refugees have entered the country since the conflict began four years ago. Local organizations always need help welcoming the refugees that arrive in America. You can help by arranging for housing, food, and clothing, providing cultural orientation, and assisting with providing access to social, medical, and employment services. Additionally, you can call on your elected official to support refugee families.
There are many charities and causes who need money to continue their work in Syria. Below are a list of suggestions as to where to start.