In the wake of a deadly US-led airstrike that killed scores of civilians in Syria, children in the war-torn nation are appealing to players of the widely popular Pokémon Go smartphone game, hoping to attract international attention to their plight.
Syrian children holding Pokemon photos in hopes the world will find them and save them pic.twitter.com/pjnSMwSdTn
— Teymour (@Teymour_Ashkan) July 21, 2016
— إعلام قوى الثورة (@RFS_mediaoffice) July 20, 2016
In the photos, posted by the Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office, children are posing with images of popular Pokémon mascots, such as Squirtle and Pikachu, bearing captions with phrases like “Come save me.”
Taim Shami, of the refugee advocacy organization FacesOfChange, originally pioneered the concept of using Pokémon Go to raise awareness about the desperation of the Syrian refugee community. Shortly after the app was released and downloaded by million of people worldwide, Shami created a series of images modeled on the latest smartphone gaming craze called Syria Go, illustrating that Syrians would rather just have life-saving amenities, homes, and education, rather than catch Pokémon.
Syrians have more pressing concerns than catching Pokemon If only augmented reality could save lives here is SyriaGo pic.twitter.com/QbzlKEbFJx
— taim shami (@taimshamii) July 19, 2016
Syria, which has long been seen as a failed state since a civil war broke out between the Bashar al-Assad regime and rebel forces in 2011, also houses the headquarters of ISIS, making it a prime target for bombing campaigns by US-led coalition forces and Russia. Earlier this week, at least 80 civilians, including 11 children, were killed in a coalition airstrike after the families were mistaken for ISIS fighters. Roughly 4.5 million people have fled Syria in the wake of intensified fighting between ISIS, Western-backed rebels, and constant airstrikes, and Syria remains the #1 country of origin for refugees fleeing the Middle East.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected]