Yankton family keeps watch on relatives living through Syrian crisisYANKTON (AP) — Several times a day, Rola Binder checks her Facebook account to see if her family is still alive.
By: Derek Bartos, Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan
YANKTON (AP) — Several times a day, Rola Binder checks her Facebook account to see if her family is still alive.
Binder, who lives in Yankton, was born in Syria and has several family members who still live in the country, fighting for survival in the midst of a conflict that kills more civilians every day.
“They live hour by hour,” Binder said. “They say, ‘We’re OK now, but in an hour we don’t know what will happen.’ It breaks my heart, and my kids’ hearts. They don’t know if their grandma will be alive tomorrow or not.”
The Syrian conflict began in March 2011 after public demonstrations across the country developed into a nationwide uprising calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and his government. The Syrian government deployed its army to quell the uprising, resulting in many besieged cities and civilian fatalities. The attacks have drawn criticism from several countries, the United Nations and many human rights organizations.
While her immediate family remains safe for now, Binder said she has had relatives injured and killed as a result of the violence.
“My cousin was killed. They bombed his house and he died,” she said. “And my second cousin, they shot him and he died. And one cousin, they shot him, but he is alive now. They saved him.”
Through Facebook and phone calls, Binder has been communicating with her family about the uprising, a conflict that has resulted in more than 15,000 casualties, mostly civilians, since it began last spring, according to Syria Human Rights Monitor. Her family has sent her several videos and pictures of the violence, many showing the dead bodies of women, children and elderly killed by Syrian government forces.