What started as an anti-authoritarian uprising became a brutal international proxy war. However many years pass, the solution remains the same.

By Farrah Hassen, Foreign Policy in Focus

This week marks the 11th anniversary of the war in Syria.

As a Syrian American, it is difficult to acknowledge such a grim milestone without feeling a profound sense of anguish over the nearly 500,000 lives lost, the displacement of over 13 million people, and the destruction of its cultural relics.

I often wonder whether Syrians and Palestinian refugees I’ve met during my visits there are still safe. I cling on to my pre-war memories, like my euphoric first trip to Aleppo to discover my ancestral roots. I also still remember that tranquil day in 2004 when I basked in the splendor of the impressive Roman ruins at Palmyra, years before ISIL terrorists badly damaged the ancient city.

Syrian refugees families who came from Kobani district living in refugees tent in Suruc district

Despite such unrelenting tragedy, the Syrian people have remained resilient while confronting the challenges before them. Refugees have also adapted to their resettled homes and refugee camps throughout the Middle East. While the circumstances are hardly ideal, they are focused on rebuilding their lives and some have started their own businesses. This speaks to their inspiring grit and bravery, which rarely makes the news.

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