Syria decides to launch a space program in the midst of a civil war


So it seems that the Syrian government has decided that it wants to start a space program. That’s not a bad idea, a lot of countries have them and personally I’m for further exploring space as much as possible. No the problem lies in the obvious fact that Syria is in the midst of a devastating civil war.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), which is the state-run media organization, released a statement/story about this new initiative. They were vague on the details but stated that the goal of the program would be “of a scientific and research nature.” That’s not vague at all.

Another problem is the fact that many students and scholars have either fled the country or been forced into service, so it’s probable that the space agency will be a small one for a while.

“Students and scholars are isolated in war-ridden cities or remote villages where schools and universities have been bombed, occupied by military and rebel forces and left as strategic targets of opposing sides of the conflict,” said Daniela Kaisth, who is the vice president of the Institute of International Education (IIE), a non-profit group.

“Many of the students and scholars we hear from do not have valid passports or permission to leave the country,” Kaisth added. “Those who are able to travel within Syria must navigate hostile checkpoints, and many students and scholars have reported horrific instances of targeted violence, kidnapping, and torture.”

[via The Verge, image via Freedom House’s flickr]

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