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Syrian-Turkish Earthquake, 2023

7/15/23, 11:00 PM

Old Man in Front of Children's Coffins, 1903

The international Association of Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes (IAGP) was founded as a non-profit volunteer organization in 1973. For fifty years its main focus was on enhancing group therapy aiming to improve people’s lives, and training group therapists with the knowledge of strengthening communities at large. Recently, IAGP and its Trauma and Disaster Committee has been called upon to provide support in various places (e.g. Ukraine, Lebanon). With the multitude of crises, one area seems to have faded from the attention of many organizations, even though it is the focus of two epic proportions acts of war, mass atrocities and a natural disaster. That area is in South-East Turkey with a long border with Syria.

The civil war in Syria broke out in 2011, aided by foreign powers which did not hesitate to bomb sections of cities, causing death, injuries, destruction and people feeling the area for their lives. Since the start of uprisings across, Syrian Arab Armed Forces and pro-Assad paramilitary forces have been implicated in more than 300 chemical attacks in Syria. Although the war has subsided recently, there are still reports of fighting, especially in the northwestern part of the country. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group with a network of sources on the ground, had documented the deaths of 503,064 people by March 2023. Of these, at least 27,00 children died and many maimed. It said at least 162,390 civilians had been killed, with the Syrian government and its allies responsible for 139,609 of those deaths. The group estimated that the actual toll from the war was more than 613,400, with an additional 55,000 civilians believed to have died of torture in government-run prisons. Many of the war refugees fled to the country next door, Turkey (now called Turkiye). A large number of the refugees (estimated 3.5 million), moved to the southern part of this country. As Turkey is dealing with many war refugees and asylum seekers, the very area where most of them try to settle in, was struck with a major natural disaster.

For more info, see the article "Why has the Syrian war lasted 12 years?"here.

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