Beneath the rubble and burning buildings of Syria’s civil war exists a small women’s center in the Al-Mashhad neighborhood of Aleppo. Last July, the grounds above the center were barrel bombed three times. Bashar Assad’s regime has repeatedly used these bombs indiscriminately, and discriminately, to level infrastructure and kill thousands of civilians, DW reports:
The center, located just far enough away, was partially damaged. That didn’t stop the women who went to the center; each time they returned the following day. “We don’t understand why [the regime] wanted to bomb our center and kill us,” said Bakri Kaakeh, the CEO of Silkroad, a local civil society group that administers the center.
Silkroad is one of many local civil society groups that have established initiatives to promote democracy in opposition-controlled parts of the country. Those who work in these organizations put their lives on the line. They have crossed in and out of Syria to administer schools, youth centers, hospitals, bakeries and vocational centers, all of which have been systematically targeted by regime forces and extremist groups in the country.