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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Young faces of war: Syrian children bereaved, homeless and losing hope

When will it stop? Syrian children killed, injured and left homeless as conflict continues.

GAZA, IRAQ, SUDAN, Afghanistan and Syria.

The number of countries where children are dying, suffering horrific injuries and losing their homes should be startling.

But it’s not. Conflicts in the regions are becoming mainstays in bulletins and on world news pages of our newspapers. They are often among the lesser-viewed articles on this website. A fact explained maybe by their consistent presence?

Refugee numbers, although huge in number, are no longer shocking. Charities and aid agencies try and shout them from their rooftops, look for urgent appeals and beg governments for extra funding.

The message doesn’t quite hit.

Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen, as only photojournalists can do, is trying to get pictures to tell those thousand words.

On a recent visit to Jordan, he visited the Zaatari refugee camp where he saw the “horror of the neighboring country’s civil war can be seen in the faces of its youngest refugees”.

The camp is now home to over 50,000 refugees under the age of 18.

All have stories about the war. None know when – or if – they will ever get to return home. 

Eleven-year-old Amal Qalloosh fled her home near the city of Daraa with her family after a government bombing.

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

“On the way here, there was a lot of shelling,” Qalloosh said. “It was terrifying but we made it all safe to the camp.”

Some children work in Zaatari, while the lucky attend school at the camp.

As Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr this week, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, some children received new clothes from aid agencies and played.

But life in the camp is difficult, for many reasons.

“I have no more control of my children,” said Amani Sbaihi, a mother of seven whose two brothers fought with rebel forces and were killed by Syrian government troops.

They are getting old so young. It’s so difficult to have authority over them in such an environment.

These are just some of the children that Muheisen met during his time in the desert camp.

Zainab, 5 years old

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Mohammed Ghassan, 8 years old

APTOPIX Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Fouad, 14 years old

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Yasmeen, 9 years old

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Kamel, 7

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Essay Source: AP

Boran, 5 years old 

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Mohammed, 12 years old

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Batoul, 6 years old

APTOPIX Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Hatem, 13 years old 

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Malak, 9 years old 

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Ammar, 10 years old 

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Jood, 8 years old 

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Ahmad 6

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

Samah, 5 years old

APTOPIX Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugee Children Photo Essay Source: AP

More than 2.8 million Syrian children inside and outside the country — nearly half the school-aged population — cannot get an education because of the devastation from the civil war, according to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF. That number is likely higher, as UNICEF can’t count the children whose parents did not register with it.

UNICEF estimates more than 10,000 children have died in the violence. Others suffer from emotional problems after experiencing the war.

Ireland has agreed to take in 310 men, women and children from Syria between now and 2016. A humanitarian programme has also been launched which will see Syrians already in Ireland given permission to bring over members of their family for a number of years.

With reporting and photos by AP 

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