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Ranya Alkadamani Headshot

I Am #WithSyria... Are You?

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I can't say it enough, I can't feel it enough. I am #WithSyria and I haven't forgotten you.

On the day of the third anniversary of the Syria conflict, we must remember: "Just because it isn't happening here, doesn't mean it isn't happening."

Nothing has demonstrated this more poignantly than the Save the Children video that went viral last week. In seven days it had reached over 24 million views.

That's more than Australia's population.

The video depicts one second of a day, over the year of a young girl's life. Starting with the smiling girl blowing out nine candles on a birthday cake it shows one-second glimpses of her life.

In just 90 seconds you can see her world deteriorate from playing with toys to fleeing her country and progressively getting sicker, thinner and gaunt. But the most unique thing about this video is that she is a Londoner. She is not Syrian.

It is brought straight to our own doorsteps. Whether this is simply clever marketing, one thing is perfectly clear:

We care.

We are #WithSyria.

The sheer number of YouTube views must show our international political leaders that we are exercised about this conflict, we are horrified by it and they must do all they can to end it.

The coordination that is happening with international NGOs and the UN is unprecedented. The outcry over the lack of humanitarian access is putting more and more pressure on the United Nations Security Council to ensure it doesn't simply let this conflict fall to the back of their minds.

What is happening in Syria is described by the UN as the worst humanitarian crisis in our generation. On this third anniversary, surely our joint humanity must make us pause and think: 'what if that were me? What if that was my child?'

In January, I spent over one week with Syrian refugees in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. I crossed the Syria-Jordan border and helped refugees walk their final steps into safety with sheer relief that they weren't at risk of being barrel bombed anymore.

Their stories were harrowing. Nothing could have prepared me for what they said and nothing can help get them out of my mind now.

From a beautiful grandmother who had her granddaughter shot through the neck while they were in a car together, to a young 13 year girl, Eman, who lost her two brothers in the same barrel bomb that claimed her own leg, nothing can help you feel that what is going on in Syria is a horrible video game that can't be true.

But it is.

I held back tears as Eman showed me the stump of her leg that was amputated following the barrel bomb. I quietly wondered whether she even had time to mourn her two brothers. But in reality she is mourning everything: her brothers, her family, her leg but most of all her school. That is what she missed most and the only time I saw her smile was when she reflected on school life.

Eman is only one of the 5 and a half million innocent children affected by this conflict.

While the crisis in Syria is utterly horrific, it is difficult to imagine how appalling conditions actually are. Whole communities are under siege, starving. Civilians are targeted mercilessly. There are reports of mothers only feeding grass and herbs to their children, and only on alternate days to preserve food.

The image released earlier this month showed a stream of Syrians and Palestinians lining up for humanitarian aid amongst a completely shelled out city, Yarmouk. The scene evokes memories of the Holocaust: gaunt faces, destroyed buildings, sheer desperation.

Above all else an absolute affront to humanity.

As Amnesty International puts it: "Yarmouk's civilians have been brought to the brink of starvation, forced to forage for any food that they can find."

The fact that Syrian towns are under siege without access to humanitarian aid, medical supplies and food is simply unacceptable.

On the third anniversary of the Syria crisis, a new global movement of people who are #WithSyria has been launched. You too can use your voice to demand that Syrians get access to humanitarian assistance and that the violence must stop.

Join this campaign.

Because above all else, we have a common humanity to say 'enough' when a country is being slaughtered.

And together, we can't be ignored.