Nine years ago, protests in Daraa sparked the Syrian revolution. On March 15, Syrians from Damascus and other parts of the country joined the movement, demanding reform from Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Their calls for change were heard, and protestors stood up for freedom against corruption. 

Crackdowns on protests from Assad forces escalated to active conflicts as rebel factions were established. Destruction has turned hospitals and homes into rubble, children into orphans and wives into widows. Loss became personal —  groups of families, friends and neighbors got smaller.

Almost a decade later, Syrians still feel the effects of 2011, whether living abroad or still within Syria. According to the United Nations, more than 12 million Syrians have been displaced since the revolution began. There are no accurate statistics for the death toll of the conflict.

Today, Students Organize for Syria honors the Syrians who stood up for their basic human rights. We also commend the activists and advocates who continue to raise awareness on their behalf. March 15 will remain an important date in Syrian history. 

The month of March is Syria Solidarity Month, which commemorates those who risked their lives and livelihoods in pursuit of a free Syria. Throughout the month, SOS chapters across the country will host informational events on the Syrian conflict and fundraisers for non-profit organizations that support refugees locally and abroad.

SOS will always stand in solidarity with the Syrian people and amplify their narratives on college campuses. Our ultimate goal is to productively and effectively mobilize on behalf of Syrians worldwide.