After visiting Syria 10 times in the past decade, Angelina Jolie is speaking out about some of the atrocities that she has witnessed in the war-torn region.
In an article for Time, the Oscar-winning actress, 44, recalled meeting a fleeing family who were carrying with them the amputated leg of one of their children.
The mother of six wrote: “A few months into the Syrian conflict in 2011, I visited the Jordanian border at night, where shell-shocked Syrian families were crossing under cover of darkness to avoid sniper fire. A medic at the border post told me about a family who’d recently arrived. They carried with them their wounded 8-year-old son and his amputated leg. His leg had been severed in an airstrike. He’d begged them to bring it with them as they fled, in the hope that it could somehow be reattached.”
At the time, the “Maleficent” star hoped that stories like this might make other countries intervene in the situation. She said: “I’ve been to the Syrian region some 10 times since the conflict began. At first, the families I met were hopeful. They said, ‘Please, tell people what is happening to us,’ trusting that once the truth was known, the world would come to their rescue.”
Instead, however, Jolie says that hope “curdled into anger and the struggle for survival”.
She continued: “The anger of the father who held his baby up to me, asking, ‘Is this a terrorist? Is my son a terrorist?’ and the pain of families I met who faced daily choices about which of their children would get scarce food and medicine.”
Rather than “healing Syria’s wounds,” the humanitarian claims that the response of some external powers has been to “inflict further injuries, bloodying their hands in the process. Other countries have focused on the fight against terrorism or on the humanitarian relief effort, while the war itself has bled ever more fiercely.”
Finishing her essay, Jolie asked people to stand up for “the underdog, the innocent, and for those fighting for their human rights”.
She added: “We’re watching the brutal endgame of the war in Syria as if it has little to do with us. But it does. We should be using our diplomatic power to insist on a ceasefire and a negotiated peace based on at least some measure of political participation, accountability and the conditions for the safe return of refugees.”