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A Way out of the Syrian Carnage

Essays and Interviews 22.1
Jan Egeland

One day, we may look back at the war in Syria and say the increasingly hollow words “never again” just as we did after the Second World War, the Rwandan Genocide, and the massacre in Srebrenica. Four and a half years into the crisis, the consequences of inaction are already staring us in the face.

During my visit to Aleppo in February 2013, I witnessed desperate men and women digging through the rubble of their destroyed homes, searching for their children, relatives, or friends. Their neighborhood had been hit by missiles the previous night. I could not believe the conflict would get any worse, but it has continued to do so every single month since my visit. More than two years later, an estimated 12.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, and more than four million people have fled to neighboring countries. Many of those still in Syria have no chance of escaping, as Syria’s neighbors, overwhelmed by an influx of refugees, are now closing their borders.