What if Surrey Were Syria?

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Save the Children UK

Save the Children used hidden cameras to record genuine public reactions to a series of events unimaginable in the UK but sadly common place in Syria, where the daily exodus fleeing the conflict has reached over 4,000 refugees every day since the end of 2014 (half of whom are children). Standard services were temporarily cut off in Surrey, leaving residents under the illusion that they had no access to food, school and medical care.

The short film, which used actors to set up the fake scenarios, captures real-time reactions of the public, who were overwhelmingly horrified and angry to discover school gates shut, shops with empty shelves and a fake ambulance brought to a stand-still by ‘guards’ at an arbitrary ‘check-point’. Surrey Police were on hand to safely manage the stunts.

More than 11 million people have fled their homes and 420,000 people are living under siege inside Syria. Some communities are blocked off from essential supplies and families are having to forage for food to survive. Citizens caught smuggling aid into cities under siege, risk being persecuted and potentially killed.

When these scenarios were faced by Surrey citizens, it was unacceptable to passers-by, who risked their own safety to uphold the rights of their children and community; rights to food, health care and schooling. But just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Save the Children is calling for:

  1. Aid to reach the 12 million Syrians in desperate need, including almost 6 million children: the UN must use all its weight to negotiate access;
  2. An end to sieges and the withholding of humanitarian relief, as an illegal weapon of war;
  3. Neighbouring countries to keep their borders open to refugees;
  4. Wealthy countries, including the UK, to resettle their fair share of refugees from Syria.

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Syrian refugees

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