While over 400,000 lives have been lost in Syria, and international turmoil is escalating after the use of chemical weapons and a U.S. strike, there has been little reported about the fate of the country’s animals. Overshadowed by these human death tolls and humanitarian abuse of children and women, it’s an afterthought what can done for animals and pets in this war-torn country? Yet their crisis is dire and heart-breaking as well.
Syrians remain to aid animals
One recent report surfaced which is pertinent to this critical issue. It noted some brave Syrian nationals who are remaining in their country to tend to the animals. Over the last two months, an ambulance driver known as Alaa has spent about $4 (£2.50) each day on meat for 150 stray cats. In the largely deserted district of Masaken Hanano in Aleppo, these feline refugees would most likely have starved to death without Alaa's compassionate heart.
But Alaa is not alone. Despite the turmoil and tragedy, animal advocates who formed the Syrian Association for Rescuing Animals (SARA) are working diligently to rescue animals and provide their needed shelter and sustenance.
Daily, the people of SARA enter the streets of Damascus to feed the strays. They have also developed educational programs that focus on educational programs to teach their young sons and daughters not to abuse homeless animals.
"It's hard for us to work in this bad situation in Syria. It's not safe for us. It's hard to find adopters and donors, but we decided to stay here for them," noted one volunteer. "We are their last hope."
Alaa is also concerned about the animals who have been left behind in the town’s old zoo. According to The Dodo,“when he approached their cages, the animals just came to him, as if they knew he was there to help them.”
With this initiative, Alaa brings fresh meat he was able to secure through donations. Sent to him from his online fans, who have learned of his advocacy efforts, this campaign is helping. However, finding long-range solutions seems much more of an uphill battle. Malnourished, the tigers, bears and monkeys are skeletal in their appearance, and need long-term care by medical professionals.
Members of the Il Gattaro D'Aleppo [“the Cat man of Aleppo”] named after Alaa are reaching out to many global charitable organizations to see if they can assist. But so far, nothing has materialized. International rescue organizations just don't have the resources, nor the ability to go into war zones to save animals.
What you can do . . .
To learn how you can help feed the animals abandoned in the zoo and on the streets of Syrian towns, you can join the Il Gattoro D’Aleppo on Facebook and Twitter. To donate by Paypal, go to their site and address your donation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Writ the word “CATS” on your entry [note: never write the words SYRIA or ALEPPO, according to the instructions.] Bank transfers are also accepted using the following account info: Bank Account - Iban: IT 49 P 07601 11400 001035 493376 - Bic: BPPIITRRXXX - Name: Il Gattaro d'Aleppo - Country : Italy