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Opinion Pieces Address Health, Humanitarian Issues In War-Torn Syria

The following is a summary of opinion pieces addressing health and humanitarian issues in war-torn Syria.

  • Renee Behinfar, The Hill’s “Congress Blog”: “Syrian youths face repeated exposure to trauma, ongoing threats to their lives, and minimal access to food, water, and shelter,” Behinfar, a clinical psychologist and human rights advocate, writes, and asks, “When the Syrian conflict ends, what will become of the Syrian youths?” She continues, “Many will become refugees forced to start new lives, while carrying with them the emotional and physical scars of the past; their identities left behind, moving forward as a blank slate,” and notes a potential for youths to “become radicalized … placing the United States at risk.” Behinfar writes, “There is a moral obligation to do whatever is necessary to save the children of Syria. It is also important to establish an emotional connection rooted in awareness that the United States supports their quest for freedom, and that we are an ally” (5/3).
  • Jacey Fortin, International Business Times:  “More than two years since the uprising in Syria first erupted into a bloody conflict … [f]ood shortages are taking a serious toll on embattled civilians, as is a lack of medical supplies,” Fortin, a political reporter, writes. “This week, the United States sent its first direct shipment of medical and food aid to the Free Syrian Army, the main opposition group,” she states, adding, “But given the ongoing atrocities and the opportunity to weaken Assad allies such as Hezbollah and Iran, plenty of American politicians — including both hawks and doves — have urged stronger American action.” She notes “the U.S. administration is weighing the costs and benefits of an intervention” and discusses some of the options being evaluated at this time. “Evidence of chemical weapons may change the diplomatic strategy of U.S. officials, but Washington will still be walking a very fine line as it settles on a course of action over the coming weeks,” she concludes (5/3).
  • Kinan Madi, Huffington Post U.K.’s “Impact” blog: Noting his role with UNICEF as emergency officer in Syria “is to coordinate partnerships on the ground, follow-up on implementation of projects and delivery of humanitarian assistance, and monitor the impact and results of our work,” Madi writes, “It’s a constant challenge due to the ever changing security and access situation, but thanks to the tireless efforts being made by our partners and the UNICEF team, we have been able to make significant progress.” He discusses his experience in the humanitarian assistance field and working with UNICEF, describes “[t]he complexity of the environment” in which the agency is operating, and notes, “For kids to overcome the stress in which they are living, they need education and they need psychological support in a safe environment.” He concludes, “In a time when not many actors focus on this aspect, UNICEF is the lifeline for children’s wellbeing. … What keeps me going is when I see that we’re making a difference” (5/6).

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