By Mary Alice Stephenson
Banksy, Idris Elba, Cristiano Ronaldo and Elbow are just some of the stars who are supporting the #WithSyria campaign that will see thousands of people across the world, from Moscow to Washington, standing together in a global vigil to mark the third anniversary of the crisis in Syria on Thursday, March 13.
"#WithSyria," a stunning animated film, will be shown around the world, from an inflatable cinema in Za’atari Refugee camp in Jordan to the big screen in Times Square, and iconic locations will be bathed in light by candlelit vigils, a Banksy light projection of his famed "girl with a red balloon" -- which he has redesigned to feature a young Syrian refugee -- and the release of red balloons carrying messages of hope to Syrians.
The #WithSyria coalition is made up of 120 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. 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.
“Syria is enduring simultaneously both an exodus and a collapse. We are witnessing a war without law that's taking us back to the dark ages,” David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said in a press release. “Some 9.3 million Syrians require humanitarian aid, more than the entire population of New York. The anniversary of the conflict is the moment to show that we can turn the tide of this terrible tragedy. As a first step, the United Nations has agreed a Resolution on humanitarian access must be implemented immediately.”
Actor Idris Elba was also quoted in the release saying, "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."
"The response to this biggest humanitarian crisis of recent times is drastically underfunded and there is no end of the conflict in sight," added Wolfgang Gressmann, CARE's Deputy Director for Syria Response. "Giving up on Syria cannot be an option.”
Share Banksy's #WithSyria image below. For more information, visit www.withsyria.com.