Saturday, 7 March 2015

ASU student travels to Syria for humanitarian efforts

(Photo courtesy of Zana Alattar)

 'Biochemistry and justice studies junior Zana Alattar travelled to Syria in November 2013 with an organization called Students Organize for Syria at ASU, to provide humanitarian relief to refugees in Syria.

 “On the northern Syrian border with Turkey, there is a huge area of refugees,” she said. “People were trying to stay out of the area in Aleppo with the Assad regime. There were refugee tents with people living on the ground.”

 Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, is the site of an ongoing, years-long battle between several rebel groups and Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah, a Shi’a Islamist militant group. Since the start of the battle in 2012, more than 31,000 civilians and soldiers have died.

 “Further into the free, liberated cities are completely self-run,” Alattar said. “The Assad government cut off electricity and water from the liberated cities so (liberated citizens) had to find ways to generate electricity.”

 Rebel soldiers make up organizations such as the People’s Protection Units and the Free Syrian Army. These groups have been continuously fighting to defend Syria and have successfully liberated several cities from the Assad regime.

 Alattar, who has family who live in Syria, said the Syrian people are now facing two enemies: the Islamic State group and the Assad regime.

 “I have aunts and uncles and cousins who are living in bombed areas from the Assad regime,” she said. “The power is apparent.”

 Alattar said she believes bombing the Islamic State group will not solve the problem until the Assad regime is stopped.

 “(Bombing the Islamic State group is a) step in the right direction,” she said. “But bombing ISIS will not solve the issue. The issue rose out of the original problem, which was the Assad regime. (Stopping) ISIS is necessary, but is not entirely successful without eliminating the Assad regime.” '

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