As refugees from Syria continue to evacuate to Europe, life in Syria continues to deteriorate.
While attention has been brought to the escaping refugees, the death toll in Douma and other Syrian cities are rising. The conflict between the insurgent groups and the Syrian government has been ongoing since 2011, and a corrupted government was present long before then.
The Assad family has been running a totalitarian regime in Syria since 1970. After Hafez al-Assad’s death, Bashar al-Assad was expected to do reforms, but he instead ordered crackdowns on the Arab Spring protestors, causing the Syrian Civil War.
This ongoing war has caused 4 out of 5 of all residents in Douma to flee, whereas once it contained around 1.5 million people. The extreme population decrease has not been helped by the Syrian government, which lately has been more violent than ever. Over 550 civilians have died in the past month, many of them being women and children.
“Neighborhoods fell on the heads of residents, the screaming can still be heard,” Douma resident Imad al-Din said of the devastation in Syria. Medics have made makeshift hospitals in basements but the equipment isn’t sterile and supplies are limited. The chaos has caused city residents to take to trapping themselves in their own homes hoping that they won’t get killed as airstrikes and artillery shells rain down on them.
More than ever people are fleeing the country, but it isn’t that easy. It is expensive to take the boats to Europe, many people are simply stuck in Syria with nowhere to go. Even the small minority of people in support of the Syrian government, the Alawites, don’t have a future.Options are extremely limited to those living in Syria. They can trek on towards Europe, a feat that isn’t possible for some, or they can turn back towards a war raging in Syria where hundreds are dying each month. Countries such as Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan have become less hospitable. Refugees are harassed, beaten, and tear gassed. Syrians are desperate for a solution, otherwise the population may be wiped out as whole. Thousands are escaping Syria but the conditions for those left behind are impossibly catastrophic.