Series:Drawings of trauma and hope - Children have paid the heaviest price in the Syrian six-year war, yet they continue to dream of a brighter future. No
child is spared the horror of the war in the Syrian Arab Republic,
where children come under attack on a daily basis. More than 1.7 million
children are out of school. Yet amid the horrors and suffering,
children affected by the Syrian crisis continue to dream of a brighter
future. In late 2016, drawings by children at UNICEF-supported
psychosocial support programmes illustrate their sorrow and joy.
See & read all the stories, including descriptions of the drawings through the link above.
Russia has said it will treat US warplanes operating in parts of
Syria where its air forces are also present as “targets” amid a
diplomatic row caused by the downing of a Syrian jet.
The country’s defence ministry said it would track US-led coalition aircraft with missile systems and military aircraft, but stopped short of saying it would shoot them down.
A hotline set up between Russia and the US to prevent mid-air collisions will also be suspended.
“All kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the
international coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will
be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets,” the Russian
Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The warning comes after a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian
army SU-22 jet on Sunday in the countryside southwest of Raqqa – the
first such downing of a Syrian jet by the US since the start of the
country’s civil war in 2011.
Washington said the jet had dropped bombs near US-backed forces but Damascus said the plane was downed while flying a mission against Isis militants.
Russia’s defence ministry said the suspension of its communication line with the Americans would begin immediately.
The US did not use its hotline with Russia ahead of the downing of
the Syrian government warplane, said the ministry, which accused the US
of a “deliberate failure to make good on its commitments” under the
“The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace is a
cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty,” the ministry said.
“The US’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating
terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member-country
are a flagrant violation of international law and an actual military
aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”
Theresa May appealed to Russia to continue the use of
“deconfliction” measures over the skies of Syria to reduce the risk of
misunderstandings in what is a crowded airspace.
Russia, which has been providing air cover for Syria’s President,
Bashar al-Assad, since 2015, has an agreement with the US aimed at
preventing incidents involving either country’s warplanes engaged in
operations in Syria.
Downing the jet was akin to “helping the terrorists that the US is
fighting against”, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister,
A statement released by US Central Command on Sunday said the Syrian
jet was “immediately shot down… in accordance with rules of engagement
and in collective self-defence of Coalition partnered forces”.
“The Coalition’s mission is to defeat Isis in Iraq and Syria. The
Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime
forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or
partner forces from any threat,” it added.
“The Coalition presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat Isis
in Syria poses globally. The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of
pro-regime forces toward Coalition and partner forces in Syria
conducting legitimate counter-Isis operations will not be tolerated.”
“American Paradise” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joe Talbot) — A desperate man in Trump’s America tries to shift his luck with the perfect crime. Inspired by true events.
“Black Holes” / U.S.A., France (Directors and screenwriters: David Nicolas, Laurent Nicolas) — Dave is about to lead the first mission to Mars when he’s teamed up with a sentient melon, who claims to be the reincarnation of a fashion designer, upstaging his big moment and driving him to the brink of madness.
“Cecile on the Phone” / U.S.A. (Director: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Screenwriters: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Ellen Greenberg) — Overwhelmed by doubt and confusion after her ex-boyfriend’s return to New York, Cecile embarks on a series of telephone conversations that serve only to distract her from the one conversation she really needs to have.
“Come Swim” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kristen Stewart) — This is a diptych of one man’s day, half impressionist and half realist portraits.
“GOOD CRAZY” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Rosa Salazar) — A complex chick deals with a vanilla beau, a shitty brunch and a dead coyote all in a Los Angeles day. There’s batshit crazy and then there’s good crazy—she fits somewhere in between.
“Hardware” / U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Jacobson, Screenwriters: Ellen Stringer, Stephen Jacobson) — An amateur electronic-drum enthusiast travels to a housewares trade show looking to strike up the perfect business partnership. When things don’t go as planned, he finds himself at the mercy of the electronic drumbeat playing in his head.
“Hold On” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Christine Turner) — A young man is left to care for his grandmother one morning.
“Hot Seat” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Anna Kerrigan) — Teenaged Andrea uses a male stripper to gain the respect and admiration of cool girl Daphne in this exploration of coming-of-age sexuality and teen girls’ complex relationships, based on a true story.
“I Know You from Somewhere” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Fitzgerald) — A young woman incurs the wrath of the internet after she inadvertently becomes a viral sensation.
“Kaiju Bunraku” / U.S.A. (Directors: Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer, Screenwriter: Lucas Leyva) — Here’s a day in the life of a husband and wife living in a world of giant monsters.
“Laps” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Charlotte Wells) — On a routine morning, a woman on a crowded New York City subway is sexually assaulted in plain sight.
“LostFound” / U.S.A. (Director: Shakti Bhagchandani, Screenwriters: Shakti Bhagchandani, Emre Gulcan) — This story portrays a day in the life of a woman in the Nation of Islam.
“Lucia, Before and After” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Anu Valia) — After traveling 200 miles, a young woman waits out Texas’s state-mandated 24-hour waiting period before her abortion can proceed.
“New Neighbors” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: E.G. Bailey) — How far will a mother go to protect her children?
“Night Shift” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marshall Tyler) — Get a glimpse into a day in the life of a bathroom attendant in a Los Angeles nightclub.
“Rubber Heart” / U.S.A. (Director: Lizzy Sanford, Screenwriters: Lizzy Sanford, Anna Cordell) — After a painful dry spell, a woman attempts to have a one-night stand.
“Shinaab” / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lyle Corbine) — A young Anishinaabe man struggles with his place in the inner city of Minneapolis.
“Toru” / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Jonathan Minard, Scott Rashap) — An infant’s life is transformed by a new technology.
A child runs through the mud at the Bab Al Salame displacement camp in the Syrian Arab Republic.
The Syrian crisis is exacting its greatest toll on children. Millions are out of school, and all children – whether in the Syrian Arab Republic or taking refuge abroad – face significant threats to their psychosocial health and desperately require protection. Launched last week, the Champions of Syria campaign calls for critical support in these key areas to empower children to reclaim agency over their lives – and futures.
Are you wondering what it’s it like in growing up and living in Syria these day?..We spoke with UNICEF Regional Emergency Adviser Bastien Vigneau during his mission to Tartous, a key port city in the Syrian Arab Republic, on the Mediterranean Sea to find out.
Q. What is the humanitarian situation, in general, in Tartous?
A. Tartous is an area that has so far been spared the violence and conflict that is raging in many other parts of the country, so you initially get a sense of relative quietness here. It is a coastal city that has thrived on the industry of ships, but now, according to Syrian Arab Red Crescent, it houses more than 25,000 families – which translates to more than 150,000 persons who came to the city fleeing the violence from other parts of the country, mainly from Aleppo and Homs. The influx of people is putting tremendous pressure on the existing basic services infrastructures.
The city is about 45 minutes away by car from Homs, where fighting is still ongoing. Displaced persons here are mainly hosted by community members or living in collective centres. They live under tough conditions in the humid and cold weather, especially in the mountain areas, many of them without hot water or adequate sanitation facilities.
Others, like some the families that I met, have nowhere to stay but in the dark rodent-infested caves of the ancient ruins of historical Tartous. The municipality is doing what it can to support these displaced families, but with too few means and no more housing options and no more public spaces to host them.
Q. Can you tell us about the situation of children, in particular, that you saw?
A. What I saw in the collective centre, for example, was mostly desperation, with about 40 families sharing one toilet and one shower. Because of the cold and humid, harsh weather, many children are falling sick with acute respiratory infection. Some children I met had to drop out of school when they fled their hometowns and have not been able to enrol back in school, either because schools are already overcrowded, or to help support the family – or because they have missed the registration period.
A young woman I met who had to drop out of university when she escaped the fighting in Aleppo said that she now teaches Arabic and maths to those out-of-school children who share the cave with her. A mother whose husband is missing told me that she had to pull her 11-year-old son out of school so that he can help with earning money to support his younger siblings. I asked a 9-year-old boy about the two things he likes the most about going to school, and he said to me, “One, I like to learn. Two, I like to learn.”
We really need to make sure that the cycle of education is not disrupted for children. We are working with partners to provide school materials and furniture, school bags for children and increase the number of classes.
Q. What is UNICEF doing at the moment to help families get by this harsh winter?
A. We provided winter supplies including warm clothes, blankets and other non-food supplies like plastic mats and cooking stoves for more than 260,000 vulnerable people in various parts of Syria. Tartous is one of them.
For Tartous, in particular, family hygiene kits and heavy blankets arrived this week and, with our partners, are being distributed to 4,000 families. We also received today winter clothes packages, which will be distributed in the coming days to 5,000 displaced children living in the mountain areas and collective centres. The package includes one waterproof winter jacket, warm sweater and trousers, winter shoes, hat and one underwear set.
We also support children by helping them and their families access safe water, and we help children participate in social and fun activities in safe environments. Children whose regular schooling was interrupted receive remedial education.
But we are constantly facing challenges because the needs are growing fast, and we need to keep up with the scale of the crisis. For this, we certainly need more funds immediately with strengthened partnerships on the ground. We are working to increase our presence and work with more partners so that we can reach all children in need, which is our target. So many people are relying on us.
It is important that we keep in mind that urgent humanitarian needs are not only in the conflict areas, but they exist in the whole country – like I am seeing in Tartous.
Photo caption: Boys queue to fill jerrycans and other containers with water, in Aleppo, capital of the north-western Aleppo Governorate the Syrian Arab Republic. The city, which has been a site of prolonged fighting during the conflict, is experiencing interruptions in its water supply.
To all those pundits and pseudo-activists exploiting the image of three-year old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi washing up dead on Turkey’s shores for their own agenda, and who still despicably believe in some sort of an “organic uprising against a brutal dictator” in Syria, in spite of all the overwhelming evidence that proves otherwise, let’s be unequivocally clear:
Had it not been for Washington, the illegitimate Israeli entity, the GCC, the Erdogan-Davutoglu regime and colonialist European states arming, training, funding and sending Takfiri lunatics to besiege and terrorize the people of the Syrian Arab Republic, not to mention partaking in criminal NATO interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, there wouldn’t be any refugees fleeing their homelands in search of a life free of war and terrorism in the first place.
So wake up and smell the conspiracy, this isn’t a “refugee crisis” but this is rather part and parcel of the Zionist-Imperialist project to balkanize our region. And the only genuine and effective forces standing at the forefront of fiercely combating this scheme are the Syrian Arab Army, Hizbullah, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Yemen’s Ansarullah.
The European Broadcasting Area - Any State which is fully or partially red on this map is entitled to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest
To clarify, this is how it works:
Active membership of the EBU is open to broadcasting organisations or groups of such organisations from a member country of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) situated in the European Broadcasting Area as defined by the Radio Regulations annexed to the International Telecommunication Convention, or a member country of the Council of Europe which is situated outside the European Broadcasting Area.
Thus, if there is an active member of the EBU within a country which is fully or partially red on the map (or otherwise a member country of the CofE), that country may participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The European Broadcasting Area (EBA) is defined by the International Telecommunication Union as follows:
The “European Broadcasting Area” is bounded on the west by the western boundary of Region 1, on the east by the meridian 40° East of Greenwich and on the south by the parallel 30° North so as to include the northern part of Saudi Arabia and that part of those countries bordering the Mediterranean within these limits. In addition, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and those parts of the territories of Iraq, Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey and Ukraine lying outside the above limits are included in the European Broadcasting Area.
In the Arbat refugee camp, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a girl stands in her tent classroom – part of UNICEF’s efforts to ensure that children have access to uninterrupted learning.
The Syrian conflict has created an education crisis. Security concerns, damaged learning facilities and other factors have forced nearly 2.3 million children to stop attending school in the Syrian Arab Republic, while over 60 per cent of the 735,000 school-aged refugee children are not enrolled in school.