The World Is Watching Syria

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Image: CIA

Syria is an important country in the Middle East and its civil war has affected the entire region. Image: CIA

Countries around the world are trying to figure out what, if anything, to do about the situation in Syria.

The Middle Eastern country has been waging a civil war since 2011.

That’s when Syrians began to protest against the country’s 13-year-president, Bashar al-Assad.

Instead of listening to the people’s call for better living conditions, al-Assad and his supporters fought violently against the protesters.

The two groups have been fighting ever since.

On Aug. 21 many people were hurt or killed in an attack by al-Assad and his government forces; the deaths appear to have been due to “chemical weapons.” There are reports that put the number of people killed by the chemicals at more than 1,400.

Many countries, including the U.S. and Canada, are condemning (putting down) Syria’s government because it used the deadly chemicals against thousands of its own people.

The United Nations has also condemned Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are not considered acceptable by most countries in the world.

The United States wants to do something more than just use words to punish al-Assad; they are still trying to figure out what action they may take against Syria’s government and al-Assad.

In the meantime, there are many questions surrounding the situation in Syria.

For one thing, Assad denies using chemical weapons. Doctors who treated the people who had been attacked, however, say a chemical weapon was definitely used. Proving that it was al-Assad, however, “is not a slam-dunk,” according to some members of the military quoted in the New York Times newspaper. The United Nations recently sent weapons inspectors into the country; they will write a report on what they found.

Other issues include what, specifically, should be done to punish al-Assad and prevent further attacks; and whether countries such as Canada should help the U.S. do something. Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, said Canada supports the U.S. but will not send troops to Syria.

The situation in Syria is complicated and difficult, but the world is reluctant to turn a blind eye to what is happening there.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
If it is revealed that al-Assad used chemical weapons during this conflict, how should the world respond? What should Canada’s response be?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Text
What additional information would you like to know in order to formulate an opinion about this story? Write three questions whose answers would help you understand this conflict. Next, ask an adult/teacher your questions and in order to find the answers you are looking for.  

Junior
make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Intermediate
Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: “mn” endings
Today’s story includes the word, “condemn.” The origin of this word is a language called latin. In fact, all English words that end in “mn” come from Latin. These words can be tricky to pronounce if the reader is unfamiliar with them; however, the rule is to simply pronounce the “m” and not the “n.”

Fill in the blanks of several other English words that end in “mn.” Next, pronounce each word properly using today’s lesson.

1.  a __ t __ m n
2.  __ o l __ m n
3.  __ y m n
4.  s __ l __ m n