Syrian government troops are attempting to capture the remaining sections of Aleppo, and its citizens are in serious danger. The humanitarian disaster, which has been ongoing for months, has gotten far worse in the past few days, with terrified residents and children caught between government forces, Russian airstrikes, and rebel forces.
It's easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed and want to turn away from a story like this. But those of us with the good fortune to live in safety have a responsibility to do what we can to help. And there are ways to help. What's happening in Aleppo isn't just a humanitarian tragedy, it's a moral crisis. It's a time to put aside our fears and apathy, to get real, and to act as best and as effectively as each of us can.
Most involve donating to organizations that are on the ground in or around Aleppo. We know not everyone has money to spare, but if you can make it work, providing much needed funds to these organizations is the most efficient way to assist at a crucial moment like this. (This helpful set of guidelines first appeared on upworthy.com.)
1. Support the White Helmets.
This homegrown search-and-rescue force, which operates in rebel-controlled Syria, including Aleppo, has saved tens of thousands of its countrymen over the course of the conflict — pulling bombing victims out of rubble, raising money for prosthetics, and supporting the families of fallen comrades. Donate here.
2. Support Doctors Without Borders.
This global, non-partisan medical relief organization is still active on the ground across the country, providing local medical facilities, which have been decimated by the war, with equipment, supplies, and, where possible, personnel. Donate here.
3. Support the Syrian American Medical Society.
This group runs dozens of medical operations in Syria and the countries that have taken in the largest share of refugees from the war, treating nearly 3 million Syrians in 2015. You can sign up to volunteer or donate here.
4. Support the International Rescue Committee.
The IRC supports people who flee war and conflict in countries around the world, including Syrian refugees. Help here.
5. Support Save the Children.
Save the Children works with internally displaced and refugee children and families affected by the conflict. Read more about what they're doing and help here.
6. Go to a protest, or start one.
7. Support refugees.
There are millions of them all over the world. The terrorization and dismemberment of Aleppo? This is what they're fleeing. This exactly.
Since refugees from the conflict started flooding into the West in 2011, their fate has become a political football, exploited by candidates and causes in countries across Europe and North America to stoke fear and win elections. This should stop. The most compassionate thing we can do is to put aside our fears of terror and the unfamiliar and give them a chance to rebuild their lives among us.