Damascus, Syria, Mar 15, 2018 / 14:36 pm
Seven years ago, on March 15, 2011, the Syrian Civil War began. Since then, the conflict in Syria has forced more than 5.4 million people to flee their home country to neighboring nations, such as Turkey and Lebanon. An additional 6.1 million Syrians are believed to have been internally displaced. And more than 400,000 have lost their lives.
"More than 11 million Syrians – that is larger than the population of New York City – have had their lives torn apart and fled their homes due to this long, long war," said Tom Price, communications officer at Catholic Relief Services, in an interview with CNA.
"Children, who make up more than half of Syrian refugees in the Middle East, are paying the heaviest price. Many have witnessed violence and the loss of homes or loved ones; the vast majority have been out of school for years," Price continued.
The conflict began when demonstrations sprang up across Syria protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president and leader the country's Ba'ath Party. In April of that year, the Syrian army began to deploy to put down the uprisings, firing on protesters.