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Assad Regime Takes Aleppo

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map-of-aleppo-from-wikipediaThe eyes of the world are on Aleppo, a large city in Syria.

A history of events in Syria
In order to understand what’s happening now in Aleppo, it’s important to know the past events; here’s a brief recap. In 2011, many Syrian people—ordinary citizens—gathered in the streets to “protest.” They wanted to let everyone know they were unhappy with their living conditions. They didn’t like the people who were running Syria: the Assad family, who had ruled the country for decades. Bashar al-Assad was the president of Syria.

Those protests turned into a “civil war.” Some wars are about two countries fighting each other. But a civil war, like the one in Syria, is when people of one country fight among themselves for control of their country. (For instance, like the civil war that took place in the United States in the 1860s.)

In the case of Syria, it was the “rebels” (the people who had protested, and their supporters) against the “government” (the Assad family and their supporters, including the Syrian soldiers and Russia).

Many civilians in Syria—people who were not soldiers for either side (including children)—had to leave Syria because it had become unsafe to live there, because of the violent civil war.

Those people, Syrian refugees (refugees in this case means people who had to leave their country to live somewhere else) tried to move to other countries. Unfortunately, there were many more Syrian refugees than there were countries that were willing to take them in. One year ago, Canada began inviting more than 36,000 Syrian refugees to come to Canada to live. But that number is just a drop in the bucket—there are still millions of Syrians looking for a home.

Recent events in Syria
In most wars, one side wins and one side loses. In this case, the rebels appear to have lost their battle for control of Syria. Last week, the Assad side took control of east Aleppo, a big part of the city, and claimed victory.

There was chaos and violence in the city, as the victors took over. But the United Nations recently announced that the two sides have agreed to a “ceasefire.” In other words, that everyone would acknowledge who has won, and the violence will stop. The ceasefire was negotiated (figured out) “by Turkey and Russia, without US involvement,” according to the Thomson Reuters news service.

The people on the losing side—the Syrian rebels and their supporters—have agreed to leave the city.

The problem now is that many ordinary Syrians have no place to go, and it is very difficult for them to get clean water, food and healthcare. These are things that the rest of the world will try to help with, by offering “aid,” including money donated by caring people in other countries.

Organizations around the world are helping to find homes for Syrian people who have been displaced by the country’s civil war. In Toronto, for instance, Lifeline Syria helps Canadians sponsor families and bring them to safety in Canada.

Thank you to Farah Nasser (@FarahNasser on Twitter) from Global News, for her help with this article. Note: Events in Syria are ongoing so the news there will be changing rapidly, every day. This article provides simplified background to the conflict and information about some of the events that happened in December 2016.

Related links
Information on how Canadians can help the Syrian refugees: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/sponsor/groups.asp