Moral Failure In The Response To The Syrian Conflict

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In the ruins of Aleppo, a moral accounting of what the world let happen.

Smoke rises following a Syrian government air strike on rebel positions, in eastern Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. (Hassan Ammar/AP)
Smoke rises following a Syrian government air strike on rebel positions, in eastern Aleppo, Syria, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

There were always reasons not to get more heavily involved in Syria and the nightmare in Aleppo. But the human toll in death and suffering has been devastating. And the world’s involvement – beyond Russia’s brutal bombardment and Iran’s lethal support for the Assad regime – has been weak. If there is a “duty to protect” fellow humans from slaughter, it’s time for some moral accounting. This hour On Point: the human cost of hanging back in Syria. — Tom Ashbrook


Richard Norton, professor of anthropology and international relations at Boston University's Frederick Pardee School of Global Studies.

Martha Myers, country manager for Turkey for the ARK Group. Former country director for Syria for Save the Children International and former director of relief and social services at the UN Relief and Works Agency.

Ben Taub, contributing writer for the New Yorker. (@bentaub91)

From Tom's Reading List

The Washington Post: Aleppo is about the sanctity and dignity of each and every human life — "The tragedy — no, the genocide — in Aleppo is unfolding before our eyes. Less than a generation after the Srebrenica massacre and Rwanda, after 'never again.' Here we are again."

New York Times: Aleppo Evacuation Halted Amid Confusion and Concerns About Killings — "The government’s recapture of Aleppo, once the country’s commercial center, after a prolonged siege by Syrian forces aided by their Russian allies has been exalted by President Bashar al-Assad of Syria as a turning point in the nearly six-year-old war. But the images of death, suffering and destruction from the siege have shocked the world."

The New Yorker: Bana Alabed, Twitter's Child Witness To The Battle For Aleppo  — "Bana Alabed is a seven-year-old Syrian girl with outsized optimism and lustrous brown hair that tumbles past her waist. She enjoys reading about dinosaurs, practicing English with her mom, and playing with her two little brothers, Mohamed and Noor. She recently lost a tooth, but the tooth fairy never came, because she lives under siege, in eastern Aleppo. 'The tooth fairy is afraid of the bombing here,' she said. 'It run away to its hole. When the war finishes, it will come.'"


How And Where To Donate To Syrian Relief Efforts

If you would like to make a donation to the humanitarian relief efforts in Syria, we've compiled a short list of aid organizations helping Syrian refugees on the ground. This list is not comprehensive, but includes some established charities in the region.

This program aired on December 19, 2016.


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