Of the millions of Syrians, the children are the worst affected. Earlier, I told, how the sectarian or maybe the civil war started, but today, I wanna share how the innocent children of Syria have been left scarred for life. The trauma of war has left them wondering what their fault was?
There is not one, but many facets of the torture that these children go through. First, let’s talk about the increase in the number of children participating in the war, fighting against the Syrian troops. Mokhles is fourteen years old and is fighting against the Assad regime in Syria. He says that he will fight till the end. Even if he die a martyr, it wouldn’t matter much. Children like Mokhles have been either forcefully pushed into the war, or are inspired by watching their own relatives fighting fiercely. By International law, this is a war crime, but it doesn’t matter much to the children who have transformed from innocent bystanders to fearless fighters. Mokhles explains his reason of joining the war, saying that his uncles and his friends were killed by the Syrian troops. He said that he couldn’t sit at home, doing absolutely nothing.
It is not just the rebel groups who are using children in the war, but also armed forces, who are using innocent children as human shields and to carry supplies. And what is shameful is the fact that as many as 86 children have died so far fighting in the war.There have been reports that children as young as 8 are being used as human shields. It is said that when the children arrive in the refugee camps, they are children, but when they leave, they are killing machines. An estimated 1.6 million have fled to neighboring countries; Lebanon, North Africa, Iraq and Turkey, of which half of them are children. These children are not safe even in the refugee camps. The Syrian government says that militants from neighboring countries employ these children into war.
At a tender age, these children have experienced death from proximity. What they have faced, we cannot even think of. It becomes really hard for me to look at the visuals or even the pictures of children who are being tortured in a way, that nobody would ever do to even an animal. One fifteen year old told the British organisation, Save The Children, that he had cigarettes put out on him when he was imprisoned in what used to be his school. Another described electric shocks and being held in a room full of decomposing bodies. A small kid described how he had seen a six year old die in front of him out of hunger. “He was terrified all the time. They treated his body as though he was a dog.”
With almost 93,000 Syrians dead, including thousands of children, 4.25 million Syrians internally displaced and 1.6 million Syrians having been fled to neighboring countries, the children of Syrian are paying the highest price after having been left psychologically and physically scarred for life.
Three year old Rahaf and four year old Kamar were asleep in their home in Homs, Syria when the government shelled their house. Rahaf‘s face and hands were badly burned as the building caught fire, while Kamar‘s legs and hands and most of her face were similarly injured.They are now being cared for in Jordan by Medicins Sans Frontieres, where they play quietly with children like 13-year-old Kheta, who has to wear a special mask after most of her face was burnt in a car explosion at Fallujah, Iraq.
Many children have had several reconstructive face surgeries and many have had artificial limbs been attached after they lost theirs. Not one of the millions of children of Syria are safe today. Almost every children has lost his/her relative in the brutal war.
UNICEF warned that children of Syria are growing up to knowing nothing but violence and were being deprived of the basic right to an education. Many are trapped inside Syria, in that brutal war, facing death many times in a single day, and those who have fled the country in hope of a better life have also found nothing but disappointment.
Their dreams, of becoming a doctor, a teacher, a footballer have been brutally crushed under the dreadful war. More than a month ago, I was watching this special report by the BBC world news about how a small kid, who aspired to be a footballer, lost his leg….. Doctors in Syria are also threatened not to run hospitals, and hence, such kids are taken care of by doctors and nurses without the knowledge of the government. It became really hard for me to watch the visuals of how that little kid was struggling to walk, and hence this unfortunate incident has abashed his dream of becoming a footballer.