In anticipation of the third anniversary of Syria’s civil war, advocates, nonprofits and concerned civilians across the globe are pleading with world leaders to put an end to the violence.
The #WithSyria campaign, which launched on Thursday, mobilized the masses in 35 countries for an "unprecedented popular movement in solidarity" with the 9.3 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. Acclaimed British graffiti artist Banksy contributed to the campaign by recreating his famed "Girl With the Red Balloon" image to feature a young Syrian child.
Syrians and advocates have been tweeting and Instagramming their own personal recreations of the hopeful image, and Banksy’s work will be projected onto the Eiffel Tower, Nelson’s Column and other international landmarks, according to the Independent.
— AmeriCares (@AmeriCares) March 13, 2014
"The red balloon carries the girl above and away from the chaos below, beyond the burnt-out buildings and bullet-potted walls," the campaign wrote on its website.
Advocates are also asking individuals to get involved by partaking in global vigils that are scheduled to take place in more than 30 countries at sunset on Thursday. They’re encouraging participants to share messages of support using the hashtag #WithSyria.
A group of Syrians and Americans gathered in front of the White House to read the names of more than 100,000 Syrians who have been killed over the past three years. The reading began at noon on Wednesday, and will end on Saturday with a national rally to commemorate the third anniversary of the revolution.
— Save the Children (@SaveChildrenJOR) March 13, 2014
Syrian children, in particular, have suffered an unimaginable plight since the civil war started on March 15, 2011.
According to UNICEF, 2.8 million school-aged children cannot get access to education because of the devastation. More than 10,000 children have been killed in the violence.
The medical system in Syria has also been reduced to "horrific" levels, a Save the Children report found. Alongside a resurgence of polio, doctors are so desperate for supplies that they’ve been using old clothes for bandages, and patients have chosen to get knocked unconscious with metal bars because there are no anesthetics, according to the report.
— Abdulsalam Haykal (@amhaykal) March 13, 2014
Despite the raging conflict, advocates remain hopeful that an end to the civil war is in reach.
"Around the world, people are showing every child, woman, and man caught up in the conflict that we are with them, that we are #WithSyria," the campaign said. "We will tell our leaders: don’t let the people of Syria lose another year to bloodshed and suffering."
Find out how you can stand together with Syria, and call for an end to the ongoing devastation here.