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CIC Victoria: Strangers no more: Responding to the Syrian refugee crisis
April 28, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am PDT
In March 2011, Syria’s government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, faced an unprecedented challenge to its authority when pro-democracy protests erupted throughout the country. Protesters demanded an end to the authoritarian practices of his regime, and in return the Syrian government resorted to violence to suppress them. By early 2012, a full-fledged civil war was underway.
Ten years after protests first erupted in Syria, Bashar-al-Assad is still in power. As a result of the civil war, that has drawn in many outside powers, some 500,000 Syrians have been killed, 5.6 million are refugees while another 6.2 million are displaced within Syria itself. Closer to home, nearly 73,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Canada since 2015.
To further our understanding and knowledge of what has happened to Syria over the last decade, this panel discussion will focus on the global and local effects created by the Syrian refugee crisis. Bassam Al-Kuwatli will remind us of the origins of the Syrian refugee crisis, how the opposition is responding to current events, and the situation surrounding the 3.6 million Syrian refugees that now call Turkey home. Steven Heighton will take us on his very personal journey to the Greek island of Lesvos, at the height of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015, where he did his best to alleviate the suffering of refugees making the treacherous water crossing between Turkey and Lesvos. Sabine Lehr will then take us on another journey, closer to home, with a look at how Syrian refugees have quickly become part of Canada’s social fabric.