Over the last two weeks, our hearts and minds have been engulfed by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria. With eyes glued to our phones and newsfeeds, we have had to watch as a region where we work on a daily basis falls into chaos and uncertainty.
While the world’s attention has turned to the power play between Turkey, the West, Russia, and their respective spheres of influence; our focus, as always, lies with the victims.
The United Nations estimates that 160,000 civilians are currently fleeing as a result of the Turkish offensive in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), often referred to as Rojava. Kurdish authorities estimate this number to be 270,000. As an organization founded on the ashes of a genocide perpetrated by ISIS against the Yazidi people, the images of families fleeing the battle zone take us back to the heartbreaking pictures from Sinjar in 2014.
When people are forced to flee from armed conflict, it is the most vulnerable – the women, children, and elderly – who suffer the most. Every week at our BACK TO LIFE Women’s Empowerment Center in Iraqi Kurdistan, we work with hundreds of women who were forced to abandon their homes during ISIS’s rampage. Today, these women are scared – scared that war will return to this region; scared that they will have to relive the trauma they experiences at the hands of ISIS; scared about the future of their children; and ultimately scared about the fate of their people.
Those running from the bombs falling on Syria are much like the women and children taking part in our projects. These are people who want to live in peace and seize opportunities to improve their lives and the lives of their families. They are innocent people who have been through tremendous hardship already and need our support!
During these difficult times, HAWAR.help stands with the hundreds of thousands of people who are being forced to flee their homes at a moments notice. We stand with the elderly and the sick; with those who are unable to leave and with the women and children who are facing an unknown and frightening future.
As a human rights organization with projects aimed at supporting victims of crises such as these, our overarching goal is to prevent such conflicts because we know what the worst possible outcome looks, feels, looks, and smells like. GENOCIDE concerns us all, whether we live in Iraq, Syria, or Germany. We won’t stop until these women can enjoy the same peace and security that we do here in Europe.
Thank you for your incredible support and donations over the last week.