No doubt about it, life can be tough. In the midst of tragedy, it’s sometimes hard to stay positive. But even with all of the horrible news we read, there is still good in the world. And this story about a shelter helping animals displaced in Syria is doing just that: giving us hope.

Sadly, more than half of Syria’s population has been displaced by war, with nearly five million seeking refuge in neighboring countries. And the Syrian conflict is also impacting animals. Syrian Team for Animal Rescue (STAR) currently houses 350 animals at a farm-turned-shelter run in Sahnaya about nine miles southwest of Damascus. “The war spared no one. Animals have fled just like human beings, but at least humans have refugee centers and organizations to feed them,”  Hamada Azqul, a STAR volunteer, told the AFP.

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Many of the animals are being treated for war wounds or animal abuse. Other animals were left behind by guardians who fled the violence in Syria. 

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STAR volunteers describe the animals as “forgotten victims” of Syria’s war. The shelter is home to dogs and cats, but also more exotic animal victims, including turtles and colorful birds.

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STAR was founded in May of 2016 and is currently treating 116 animals in their infirmary. 

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The organization receives dozens of Facebook messages every day about wounded or abused animals, while their own volunteers bring in animals found roaming the streets. 

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It’s truly awe-inspiring to see how these brave people are lending a hand to animals in dire need. Unfortunately, the Syrian conflict has destroyed the economy, affecting both the people and animals. “Before the war, several European countries welcomed some of Syria’s critical animal cases. But today, animals can no longer travel because they, too, can’t get visas,” said volunteer Iman Amayra. STAR is also facing a loss of funds and resources due to the conflict. But you can help. If you’d like to donate or to learn more about STAR’s efforts, please visit their Facebook page.

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Image Source: STAR/Facebook