Daily Video

August 26, 2013

Syria Chemical Weapons Attack Alarms International Community

Caution- some of the images in the beginning of the video are graphic and should be previewed first by the teacher to decide if they are appropriate for the class.

In Syria, reports of a massive chemical weapon attack outside Damascus have put the rest of the world on high alert. The attack is estimated to have killed between 500 and 1,000 people.

“Any use of chemical weapons anywhere by anybody under any circumstances would violate international law,” said United National Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in a press conference. “Such a crime against humanity should result in serious consequences for the perpetrator.”

However, President Obama also urged caution in the situation, saying, “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, do we have the coalition to make it work?”

Syrian youth have been particularly hard-hit by the ongoing violence in their country.

“Last year around this time, we had 70,000 Syrian refugee children. Today, we have reached one million,” said Yoka Brandt of UNICEF.

It is believed another two million children have been displaced inside Syria. Many say they just want to go home.

“I want to return to Syria, to live in peace and to go back to school,” said one child. “I want to be able to play with my old friends again, just like before. I want our country to be safe, safe enough to live in and for it to be prosperous again.”

Warm up questions
  1. List five things you know about Syria. Think geography, religion, recent news stories, etc.
  2. What is the U.N. and what is its purpose?
  3. What is a refugee and what specific challenges do children and teenagers face?
  4. What is chemical warfare?
Discussion questions
  1. If you were President Obama what would you do about the conflict in Syria?
  2. Why does President Obama say that the U.S. needs to be part of a coalition rather than to try to help on their own. Hint-think about other recent U.S. wars.
  3. Why do you think that chemical warfare is considered to be “worse” than regular warfare? How would someone be able to tell that it was used?
  4. What does it mean to be displaced? How many Syrian children have been displaced?
  5. One child wished that in a year things in Syria “would go back to normal.” Do you think that in a year things in Syria will be peaceful? Why or why not?
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