By Jahnvi Upreti
The world wept on Sept. 2, 2015, when 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed ashore on a Turkish beach. Public outcries were heard throughout the world, as the brutality of the Syrian Civil War started to dawn on general populations. Political leaders were pressured more than ever to intervene, and aid organizations received an increase in volunteers and donations.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Nullifier Demir, the photographer of the picture of Kurdi, said that “the only thing (she) could do was to make his scream heard,” in hopes that something finally changes. Almost exactly a year later, it’s evident that little has changed.
While ISIS has lost control in Iraq to militaristic government forces, Syrian rebels elsewhere have been supported by Saudi and Qatari beneficiaries to lead a new attack against the tyrannical President Bashar al-Assad, according to the Independent. This has lead to a new wave of warfare in Syria’s capital, Aleppo.
External interventions, such as the U.S.’s and Turkey’s recent decision to send in supplies and forces to fight ISIS with the hopes of simultaneously combating Kurdish advances, further complicate the situation, as they are fighting Russia and Iran, who support the military regime. These interactions are causing the Syrian war to be the “most significant proxy war since Vietnam. (And) it is the civilians who suffer,” the Independent reported.
BBC noted that Oxfam, an international group dedicated to ending hunger, according to its website, released a report that stated the mortality rate has increased by 20 percent in the last year, resulting in the loss of another 1,000 refugees. Although, this statistic could potentially be larger, since the information does not include the undocumented individuals who perished at sea.
Currently, hundreds of refugees, including unaccompanied minors, are trapped in multiple camps throughout Turkey and Syria, hoping for rescue from European governments, the Independent reported. Unbeknownst to them, many European nations are falling short on their promise to take in a number of refugees. For example, Britain recently expressed concern that it would not be able to house 20,000 refugees by 2020, as it had offered earlier, according to The Guardian.
The U.S. is about to accept its 10,000th refugee on Saturday, Oct. 1. David Milliband, president and chief executive officer of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), told CNN that the “IRC encourages the White House to consider this 10,000 milestone ‘a floor and not a ceiling.’”
He continued by urging President Barack Obama to increase the number of accepted refugees to 140,000 by 2017. Other countries, like Macedonia and Slovenia, are closing their doors to refugees completely, BBC reported.? Other notable changes within the past year include the results from the University of Sheffield’s 2015 study, which reported a shift in language regarding the Syrian crisis. While newspapers and headlines had previously labeled the individuals as “migrants,” the use of the term “refugee” among the public has increased greatly.
“There is a shift in language that signals a shift in the sense of people’s responsibility,” said Frank Duvell, a senior researcher in the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at Oxford University. “Talking about refugees means acknowledging some responsibility for international protection, which the word ‘migrant’ doesn’t entail,” BBC reported.
In 2015, many hoped that Kurdi would be the catalyst for change and aid toward the Syrian crisis. However, merely three weeks ago, the photo of a dazed and bloody Omran Daqneesh, surrounded by the remains of a Russian explosion, had surfaced, proving that not much has changed.