Across the world from Moscow to Washington thousands of people will mark the 3rd anniversary of the crisis in Syria on Thursday with candlelit vigils, the lighting up of iconic locations and the release of Banksy inspired red balloons carrying messages of hope to Syrians.
Syrian voices have joined a coalition of 115 humanitarian and human rights groups from 24 countries, including Save the Children, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Hand in Hand for Syria and the International Rescue Committee, to simultaneously launch a pledge for world leaders to commit to making this the last anniversary marked by bloodshed. The campaign is calling for urgent action to ensure Syrians in need – including civilians in areas under siege - can access aid and for the voices of ordinary Syrians to be heard and heeded in reconvened peace talks.
Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children said: “For 3 years Syria’s children have endured unacceptable suffering. The impact of this crisis has been devastating. Doctors that we work with on the ground have told us children are having limbs amputated because basic antibiotics for less serious wounds are not available and newborn babies are dying in incubators due to frequent power cuts. Full humanitarian access would help injured and sick children receive the medical care that they need. The UN resolution on access must be implemented. Tonight's vigil, and vigils around the world, are to show the people of Syria that we care and that we are demanding world leaders take action to end this conflict now."
Actor Idris Elba explained that "it was important for me to support and lend my voice to this stunning animation that alongside Banksy’s new piece is part of the #WithSyria campaign. Ordinary Syrian civilians continue to pay the heaviest price in a conflict that has already wrecked millions of lives. Let's stand with Syria today".
"Civilians in Syria have been subjected to countless human rights violations over the last three years, not least in the context of ongoing armed sieges,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General.
“The UN resolution on humanitarian access is an opportunity for the international community to push hard for the sieges to end and unfettered access to be given to independent humanitarian organizations. That opportunity must not be allowed to slip away."
Among the campaign activities planned are:
- Thousands of people will attend vigils held in more than 40 countries
- Banksy has created a #WithSyria reworking of his iconic “girl with a red balloon” image
- Nelson’s Column, the Lincoln Memorial and Eiffel Tower will be lit up in message of hope at the vigils
- 115 humanitarian and human rights groups will join prominent names and Syrian voices in demanding immediate action to ensure Syrians in need – including civilians in areas under siege, can access aid
- Stunning #WithSyria animation will be released with exclusive music from Elbow, who have given their song “The Blanket of Night” as the soundtrack.