Barrel bombs being dropped daily on rebel areas in Aleppo, civilian installations such as schools and field hospitals are often targeted. Famine and denial of medicals services, including medicines and vaccines, are being used as weapons by the Assad regime in Eastern Ghouta and throughout the country. Worsening weather conditions have created a virtual nightmare for refugees in their tent encampments, especially in Lebanon, Jordan and along the long border with Turkey. Still, thousands are fleeing daily to nearby countries to escape bombardment and starvation.
In host countries, children as young as seven are often forced to work, few have the chance to go to school, and many of those who do attend schools run by Islamists more interested in proselytization than education. In some refugee camps, life is particular harsh for women as well, who often avoid venturing out at night or alone for fear of getting raped. Hundreds have already been raped before being forced to leave the country.
Not since 1948 has the region witnessed dislocation on such a large scale, and this one surpasses even that precedent, with more than 10 million people affected, 4 now live outside the country, and the rest under very precarious conditions in different besieged and embattled enclaves inside. Life for the Syrians living in regime-controlled areas is not easy as well, and is getting harsher every day. Only certain neighborhoods in Damascus, Suweida and Lattakia have escaped the devastation, so did the coastal town of Tartous. But this relative tranquility seems destined to vanish in the coming months. Foreign fighters, Sunni and Shia, continue to be recruited to fight on different sides. As the country is being torn apart, so does the moral contract that binds all people, not just in Syria, but all over the world. We are not one, and freedom remains elusive. For this, there will no peace. Merry Christmas.