We wish you a great 2017
2016 was an extremely violent year for civilians in Syria: already by the end of October, the civilian death toll exceeded casualties from the previous year. Over the last 6 years, reported civilian deaths and injuries in Syria have been more than 4 times higher than among armed actors, due to military operations taking place in densely populated areas. On top of these terrifying statistics, civilians in many Syrian towns and villages suffered from hunger, poor access to clean water, limited medical care and other factors making life incredibly harsh.
The year ended with the recently announced subsequent ceasefire in Syria. Both the history of the previous ceasefires and the terms of the new one leave doubts that the fighting will finish permanently. Therefore, our goals of the march remain the same. The protection of civilians is still an absolute necessity.
Demanding increased action to protect civilians in Syria was what made us come together and march from Berlin towards Aleppo. The reason we chose this route, the so-called refugee route, is to pay tribute to the millions of refugees who were forced to flee their country, and to those who lost their lives along the way.
We march to raise awareness in Europe and to increase discussion and debate in every city we cross. We want to increase our knowledge and the one of others about the various powers’ involvement in this war, about the arms trade and the international interests that lead to conflicts around the world. We are also creating space for personal meetings and story-sharing between people of different nations and backgrounds, many of whom have been personally touched by the horrors of war.
We stand with the civilians, not on any political side of the conflict. We realise how much more this exposes us to attacks from all sides, and still that is the path we believe in.
We can only hope for a better 2017. That is why we will keep on marching in the following months. Our thoughts are with them and with all the marching friends we have met along the way so far. We look forward to welcoming more of you in the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey.
Join us along the route in 2017!