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- Middle East Political & Social Issues
Michael Sheen: UNICEF Ambassador.
Welsh actor and human rights activist working in his capacity as an ambassador for UNICEF has said he is worried about Syria's lost generation. Speaking to Syrian refugees in exile in humanitarian camps many of the escapees told Sheen they hoped one day to return to their country and re - build it.
As I write the war in Syria is going on against Islamic State and Al - Nusra Front by the Allied air campaign and by the Russians even though some Russian pilots and planes have headed for home where they received a hero's welcome upon touch down. Other parties to the fighting like the Western backed FSA (Free Syrian Army) are engaged in the talks with the Assad regime and both parties along with other combatants form part of the ceasefire which right now seems to be holding. Many Syrians in Damascus are able to carry on normal life again much to their relief that's if the guns and bombs don't start again.
Michael Sheen seems to have made it his life's work to help those victims of war and genocide hopefully donating some of his acquired wealth to the help and also highlighting the suffering of these people.
The camps where Sheen visited were in Lebanon and Jordan where the UK will be taking 20,000 Syrians over the next five years from these camps and already some of the newly arrived Syrians can be seen mingling with the native Brits and other communities in the UK wandering around cities and towns. Germany has taken in 1 million and Sweden quite a lot too but as much as these nations want to help these pitiful people there is growing resentment. The resentment is caused largely by the suspicion that the migrants could be under cover IS operatives as was the case in the Paris attacks and secondly many of these people are Muslim which will add to Europe's growing Muslim population and thirdly because western European nations especially the UK are living under austerity which has seen the rise in groups like Pegida, EDL and Britain First opposed to extremist Islam or Muslims in general and understandably so in a way.
It is reckoned that 8.4 million Syrian youngsters have been affected by the war and it is thought more than 15,000 unaccompanied and lost Syrian children have left Syria. This is a huge amount of young people together with hordes of displaced Syrians heading for Europe where many European nations like Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia have erected security fences patrolled by the army and police to stop the flow of people crossing into their countries heading for Germany mostly.
Greece and the Greek islands seem to be over run by Syrians and other people from Iraq and Afghanistan and even Pakistan and many other European nations seem quite content to leave them there with Greece struggling to house and feed these people which is leading to resentment by native Greeks towards these people.
There have been scenes of violence and confrontation as the migrants try to breach the security fences in Europe and they have been forced back by water cannon and tear gas by Macedonian and Serbian security forces. It is a horrible scene especially young babies and children being involved in these scenes, however, I can understand the reactions of those Serbian and Macedonian forces too.
If the peace talks bring dividends that's if they do then maybe one day the migrants can return but until then the hellish scene playing out in Syria and beyond will continue.