A round-up of background information and resources to help you teach about the situation in Syria.
[Please note, this article was first published in September 2013, so whilst the links are still valid you may want to check news sites for more up-to-date information.]
The following YouTube clip gives some sense of the size of the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan. It is home to over 100,000 of the more than 2 million people forced to become refugees due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
We’ve listed below (in alphabetical order) a range of sources for teaching ideas, background information, photos, film clips, slideshows, maps, etc. Many of the links are to news articles and may need more input to become teaching resources. Others have been specially prepared for use in class, and we’ve indicated this.
The situation is changing all the time, and we will add new resources when we find them. Please tell us about any you feel are useful in the comments box below. (You will need to login to do this.)
You may also want to read through our blog post on answering difficult questions as it has some links and tips that might be useful in this context.
Teaching resource on Syria: Children in Conflict – encourages pupils to compare and contrast their lives with that of Israa, a 13-year-old Syrian refugee, living with her family in Zaatari Refugee Camp
Connecting Syria’s allies and enemies – an interactive look at the political and military positions for and against military intervention.
In pictures: Oil crudely extracted in Syria – the disruptions in supplies has spurred amateurs to build their own make-shift refineries.
The ASIDE blog
Talking To Our Kids About Syria – Visual Resources For Learning – aimed at US teachers; a range of useful film clips and graphics.
In Focus: Six Million Displaced by War in Syria – 38 photos of refugees and the situations they find themselves in.
Syria: the story of the conflict – brings together brief news reports, film clips, maps and statistics.
See also the BBC’s main Syria conflict web pages
British Red Cross
The most recent issue of the British Red Cross Newsthink e-newsletter includes suggested classroom activities on the issue of chemical weapons and also on the humanitarian situation in Syria.
Another activity encourages students to explore Syrian refugee choices.
Their website also has a teacher briefing on Weapons of war, which explores issues of international law.
The Day – Explaining Matters
News website with articles specially written for use in class.
The Laws of War – exploring the rules governing intervention in another country.
Syria waits for America’s decision on air attack – exploring arguments for and against intervention.
Syria deal returns Russia to global centre stage – exploring the recent deal on chemical weapons.
An international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world.
“In Damascus All is Quiet”: Russians Report from Syria – short feature showing that many Russians, even those who oppose Putin, are suspicious of Western motives for military intervention.
Artists Capture a Bloody Ramadan in Syria – some artistic depictions of the situation – could be used to prompt your students’ own responses.
Syria: a children’s crisis? – includes lesson plans and classroom activities on the Syria crisis for ages 11-14, focussing in particular on the issue of refugees and the impact on children.
Inside the Zataari Refugee Camp – slideshow with a glimpse of what life is like for children at the camp.
How to talk to students about the situation in Syria – a useful Q&A plus a round-up of teaching resources.
UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency)
Syria Emergency – news, photos and slideshows on the refugees fleeing conflict in Syria.
9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask – tries to explain about a hugely complicated situation in an easy-to-understand way. Could be a helpful background read for teachers and older students as it provides a flavour of the many different and conflicting perspectives on the situation.
The photo at the top of this page is Lives lost in Syria by Oxfam International on Flickr.com and used under a Creative Commons licence.