In mid-March, protests first broke out in the southern town of Dara’a, and in other parts of the country, following growing discontentment with corruption in the government and political repression, and fuelled on by the successful ousting of the governments of Tunisia and Egypt. With protests quickly spreading, President Bashar al-Assad appeared on TV and claimed that anti-corruption laws would be fast-tracked. However, since mid-April, violent force has been used by government troops in an effort to curb protests. Over 1,000 have been killed, thousands imprisoned and hundreds injured. Over 10,000 refugees have now entered Turkey. Recent reports that the Syrian army are approaching the boarder has raised fears that they will clash with Turkish military protecting the refugees.
Children and families living in our SOS Villages located in Qodsay, a quiet suburb of Damascus and Aleppo, Syria's second largest city have not been harmed by the ongoing violence. However, we have stepped up security at both sites to ensure the safety of the SOS families, and will continue to closely monitor the situation.
SOS Children began its work in Syria 30 years ago. The first SOS Children's Village was built in 1981 in Qodsaya, Damascus. A second village was opened in 1998 in Khan El Assal, near Aleppo. In 1996, an SOS Social Centre was established in Darayya, a suburb of Damascus with a community outreach programme providing meals for single mothers and their children, as well as vocational training for women and young people to help them to find employment.