Activists, NGO's mark 12th anniversary of Syrian revolution
Activists and NGOs on Wednesday commemorated the 12th anniversary of the Syrian revolution, weeks after a deadly earthquake shook the country amid its ongoing conflict.
Many gathered in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province to mark the occasion, as others paid tribute online to those killed, arrested and forcibly disappeared in the war.
Activists demanded that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad be "brought to justice", for unleashing a "genocide" against its people, after civilians demanded freedom in 2011 from President Bashar Al-Assad’s authoritarian rule.
Happening now in Idlib Governorate, Syria. 12th anniversary of the syrian revolution. pic.twitter.com/ZU8XbbXoCC— Fared Al Mahlool | فريد المحلول (@FARED_ALHOR) March 15, 2023
Over 500,000 people have died in the conflict, largely in bombing of civilian areas by the Syrian regime and its ally Russia, and at least half of the country’s pre-war population have been displaced.
"Syrians wanted different days than those that passed, they broke the walls of silence and called for freedom and change. They lived stories people cannot comprehend," The White Helmets, also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, wrote in a statement.
أراده السوريون يوماً مختلفاً عن سنوات مضت، كسروا جدران الصمت مطالبين بالحرية والتغيير،عاشوا قصصاً لا يستوعبها البشر، لن ننسى الأرواح التي فقدناها و المعتقلين والمغيبين في أقبية نظام الأسد…العدالة والتغيير حتميان ولو طال انتظارهما.#الخوذ_البيضاء #حرية #الذكرى_12_للثورة_السورية pic.twitter.com/cUkr5GBfh3— الدفاع المدني السوري (@SyriaCivilDefe) March 15, 2023
"We will not forget the lives we lost and those arrested and disappeared in the dungeons of the Assad regime… justice and change are inevitable, even if they are long overdue," they added.
At least 154,398 individuals have been arbitrarily arrested or forcibly disappeared - 87 percent of them by the regime - since the war began, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
Media professionals also paid tribute to the Syrian revolution , highlighting the tragedies experienced by Syrians over the past 12 years.
"Today, we mark 12 years of ongoing human tragedy in Syria. Death, destruction, earthquake, detention, torture, and millions lost their homes. 12 years, and the whole world is doing nothing. Syria and Syrians must not be forgotten. Remember Syria," journalist Razan Ibraheem wrote.
Today, we mark 12 years of ongoing human tragedy in Syria. Death, destruction, earthquake, detention, torture, and millions lost their homes. 12 years, and the whole world is doing nothing. Syria and Syrians must not be forgotten. Remember Syria— Razan Ibraheem (رزان) (@RazanIRL) March 15, 2023
#RememberSyria #SyrianRevolution pic.twitter.com/c1Bt9bnWGE
The UK representative for Syria also marked the "grim" milestone, highlighting their support for "Syrians in their calls for accountability" as "Assad’s brutality... continues".
Today the Syrian conflict reaches its grim 12 year milestone. Asad’s brutality towards the Syrian people continues, despite last month’s earthquakes.— UK Syria Rep (@UKSyriaRep) March 15, 2023
⁰🇬🇧 stands in solidarity with Syria and supports Syrians in their calls for accountability and a stable, just & enduring peace. pic.twitter.com/mLKxcoosXa
Other activists on the ground in Syria’s rebel-held northwest stated they are "still ready to put up a fight until we see the downfall of the Assad regime and liberation from the shackles of tyranny and injustice".
12 years and counting, and still ready to put up a fight until we see the downfall of the Assad regime and liberation from the shackles of tyranny and injustice. #الذكرى_12_للثورة_السورية #سوريا #الثورة_السورية #Syria_earthquake #Syria #Idlib pic.twitter.com/b0UET4twI9— Yazan Aboud (@TahofjYazan) March 14, 2023
The brutal conflict has seen over 80% of Syrians plunged into poverty.
The Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on civilian areas in the conflict, as highlighted in numerous reports from human rights groups and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Adding to the plight of Syrians, almost 6,000 people were killed in the country by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the Syria and neighbouring Turkey last month.
At least 15.3 million Syrians are estimated to require humanitarian assistance to survive, which is the highest level of people in need since the start of the conflict, according to UN figures.