By Rachel Fergus.
After years of armed conflict, Syria finally has two days to breathe. At approximately 11:45 EDT the country began the 48 hours of respite, allowing medical and humanitarian aid to enter the country and reach those injured and sick.
These moments of peace come after devastation ran rampant throughout the country. According to UNICEF Syrian children are some of the most vulnerable and effected by the years of violence. 2.5 million children have been displaced and are living as refugees, while 8.4 million children are in need or humanitarian aid. BBC reports that he war has also left more than 400,000 men, women, and children dead.
Though the rest of the world has not experienced the suffering of Syrians, the conflict’s ripples have been felt globally. More than 4.5 million refugees have fled Syria and are now living in countries such as Jordan, Turkey, and numerous European states. This shift in population dispersion has become a very closely followed topic, leading to hotly contested immigration policies. The world has also taken notice of this war because of the blatant use of chemical weaponry. Chemical warfare was banned in the Geneva Protocol (June 1925) and has been in effect since prior to World War II. The choice to use chemicals is a breach of international law.
The pause in fighting was negotiated by Russian and U.S. leaders. As NPR’s Camila Domonoske reported- Russia has been supporting the Syrian government under President Assad, and the U.S. supports the government’s opposition. However, Russia and the United States have agreed to work together. The two countries will combine forces to carryout airstrikes on extremist groups in and around Syria. This proposed cooperation will only take place if, according to the BBC, there is a truce in Syria for seven days. The two countries also want to see that those in need of medical aid are being reached.
Even if the pauses in fighting last for seven days, and humanitarian workers on the ground are able to reach those most in need, the country will still have a long, hard road to recovery. With more than 400,000 dead, 4.5 million displaced, and entire neighborhoods in shambles the country will need time to rebuild. However, the ceasefire is the first of many necessary steps, it will be interesting to see what happens in the next seven days.