By JEAN-JACQUES CHARLES

PHOTO: Irin News
Three Syrian children listen to their teacher at a refugee camp in the neighboring country, Lebanon. The civil war in Syria has left up to three million people in need of food assistance, according to the United Nations and the Syrian government. PHOTO: UNICEF Lebanon/Nabil Ismail

More than one million children are caught in the instability of the civil war that started in the spring of 2011 when teenagers painted revolutionary slogans on their school’s walls. The uprising began peacefully as part of the region- wide Arab Spring of protests against oppressive governments, but turned violent in March 2011 when the government sent the military to stop the demonstrators by shooting at them.

Since then, the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the rebels (the Free Syrian Army or FSA) have been fighting each other throughout the country. The United Nations Human Rights Council reported that many children have been victims of war-related violence that has displaced more than 250,000 people.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Mr. Assad’s security forces arrested and tortured teenagers in March 2011 for painting anti-government slogans on their school’s walls. To support the teenagers, Syrian people marched in the streets to protest the brutality, but authorities fired at them and killed four people. “People then began demanding the overthrow of Mr. Assad,” according the the BBC.
  • Syria is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.
  • Natural resources in Syria include petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores and asphalt.
  • Obama approved $12 million dollars in aid to support the rebels in Syria.