At least 99 children are among those slain following government-led bombardments of eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Syria’s capital city of Damascus, where more than 460 people died in February. The attacks on the rebel-held enclave have resulted in the highest short-span death toll of the civil war in nearly five years, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It’s reported that people have been burned out of their homes, doctors must resort to using expired medicine and families have been eating rotten food to survive.

The current state of the conflict has been described as “catastrophic,” “hell on earth,” an “extermination” and “beyond imagination” and images from the nation also led the Wednesday front pages of the New York Times,Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

And yet, as the latest crisis has unfolded, the world has responded with an incongruous emotion: Indifference.

Why do global observers appear to be so apathetic to the killing in Syria?

One explanation is that, in addition to being more preoccupied with matters closer to home, the public has simply grown used to the 7-year-old civil war, as Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland suggested.

Yet there might be even more at play psychologically, according to professor Paul Slovic, a leading scholar on apathy toward genocide and decision research at the University of Oregon and co-author of Numbers and Nerves. Simply put, research suggests humans are not good at extending empathy to large groups, he said in a phone interview.

Read the full article on desensitization to conflict by Susie Poppick at Mic