Syria is the longest and most violent of the revolutions. Assad’s troops killed over 5,000 generally Sunni Syrians by the end of 2011, despite protests and observers sent by the Arab League and economic sanctions by the US and European nations. By early 2014 the number killed doubled and 100,000 were displaced from their homes. Three million Syrian children were displaced form their homes, a “lost generation” many of whom don’t go to school and must labor to help their families survive in exile. Civil war ensued, with Alawite Muslims and some Christians backing the Alawite dictator, fearful of being persecuted by a Sunni takeover. Whereas Quadafi in Liberia said he was killing rats, Assad said his killings of his people were like a surgeon who has to shed blood to save the patient—over 100,000 by 2013. Comedian Bill Marr pointed out Assad looks like a car salesman in his crisp suits but he’s a butcher.
The UN reported that an average of 5,000 Syrians were killed each month of the uprising and eight million refugees left the country or their homes, nearly half of the Syrian—including more than one million children, over half without schools creating a “lost generation.” Frontline produced a video about five of those children growing up with death all around them.[i] See a short documentary about the struggle.[ii] Many of those who have schools nearby drop out because their families need them to work or they’re too traumatized. A 12-year-old girl quoted by Oxfam, Reema wrote, “I had so many dreams. None of them will come true. All I want is to live in my country in freedom. Syria, my beloved country, I love you.” Over 11,000 children younger than 17 were killed by the end of 2013, according to UNICEF. Children were tortured, sexually abused, used as soldiers, and killed, at first mostly by government forces and then by rebel groups as well. The opposition was taken over by foreign jihadists. Over 150,000 Syrians were killed, about half were refugees, they suffer from starvation in blocaded areas, polio returned, and the government dropped barrel bombs and chemical warfare on civilians.