On March 15, 2011 Syrians began taking to the streets, demanding the kind of democratic change being seen in other Arab Spring countries. Rather than acquiesce to the will of the people, Bashar Assad and his regime began waging a war against their own population, firing on protesters, and bombing public gatherings and funerals.
Over the past two and a half years, the conflict has devolved precipitously, with foreign fighters flowing in, and international powers propping up myriad armed groups. However, we must never forget that this conflict started when the government fired the first shots on unarmed civilians, holding banners that asked only for freedom and democracy.
According to the French government, this conflict has already killed over 120,000 people. A September, 2013 report from the UN states that there are over 2 million Syrian refugees living in neighboring countries, while over 5 million are internally displaced. This is to say nothing of the 200,000 or so missing Syrians, who are believed to be detained, kidnapped, or dead.
Taken together, these numbers constitute the gravest humanitarian crisis in recent history. The international community owes the Syrian people more!