100,000 children and their families used to live in eastern Aleppo, a city in northern Syria. That all changed when the government began a siege of the area in June.
Since then, these neighborhoods have become the site of routine bombardments and airstrikes. Instead of toys or marbles, children now collect shrapnel and other bomb fragments. Even eight-year-olds are becoming experts on the sounds of all the different weapons that attack their areas.
And there have been casualties. In fact, young children are among the worst victims – in the 10-day period from September 26 through October 5, more than 300 children were killed or injured. Since June, approximately seven teachers and five students were killed in underground schools, which are held in basements to avoid detection. Even hospitals have been flattened.
For six days, the area experienced some relief due to a ceasefire brokered by the U.S. and Russia. But the ceasefire abruptly broke down on September 19th when 31 humanitarian assistance trucks lined up to deliver food and medical supplies to local civilians. But during a five-hour-long nightmare, planes suddenly flew overhead and began pummelling the convoy with bombs. Eighteen of the 31 trucks were destroyed or damaged, and 21 civilians were killed – including a child just 16 years old.
There is a way to protect these children and other civilians now. The U.S. is one of the larger players in fostering peace in Syria. That's why it's so critical for U.S. President Barack Obama to immediately declare the area above Aleppo a no-fly zone. Once the U.S. takes a stance, other world leaders are sure to follow.
No government has yet claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the aid convoy, but if a no-fly zone is implemented, no government can so grossly slaughter civilians in Aleppo again. Sign the petition now to speak up for Aleppo's children before the next airstrike claims more lives! The more signatures we can get from the international community, the more we can pressure President Obama into action.