If Britain were Syria: charity releases ‘brutally powerful’ ad

Picture this: a family sings happy birthday to a girl, soon enough the mood changes as Britain descends into a Syria-type conflict

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A family sings happy birthday to a young girl and scenes of her life flit past on screen; playing dress up and sleeping peacefully in a car. Soon enough the mood changes, panic takes hold as Britain descends into a Syria-type conflict and the girl’s life is torn apart.

So goes the new advert by UK-based charity Save the Children. The 90 second video was released in the run-up to the three-year anniversary of the conflict.


According to the United Nations, 10,000 children have died in the Syrian war and 2.3 million people are registered as refugees as a consequence of the fighting.

Cut to the end of the advert and a phrase flashes across the screen: “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.”

Jack Lundie, director of Brand and Communications at Save the Children, said the video was meant draw in members of the British public who are not familiar with the situation in Syria.

“We hope the video will resonate with members of the public, particularly those who don’t know much about the situation in Syria so they can really understand the plight of innocent Syrian children,” he said.

“The message to the public is just because it’s not happening here, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”

Lundie goes on to draw parallels between Syrian children and children in other countries not ravaged by war.

“It’s easy to forget that Syria was a middle income country, where children enjoyed the benefits of education, healthcare and the other basic rights our children take for granted—not to mention Facebook accounts, video games and youth culture.”

International media have responded to the advert positively, with the Independent calling it “sobering” and Adweek labeling it “brutally powerful.”

The ongoing Syrian war is causing a humanitarian crisis in the country, with the U.N. last month calling on the government to allow for aid access into besieged areas.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the time: “Half the country’s people need urgent assistance. Host countries need support in caring for more than 2.5 million refugees.”

He described as “profoundly shocking” the notion that “both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war.”

“Some 200,000 people are under siege in government-controlled areas – and 45,000 in opposition-controlled areas,” he said last month.

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