Fearful for their future: Syrian refugee children in makeshift camps yearn for return to normalcy - Firstpost
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Fearful for their future: Syrian refugee children in makeshift camps yearn for return to normalcy

#Associated Press   #children   #Damascus   #FWeekend   #Hama   #Jordan   #Syria   #Syrian refugees   #UN   #World  


Mafraq: About half of the 4.8 million Syrians who fled their homeland are children, and some of the most vulnerable live in dozens of makeshift tent camps, including in Jordan, which has taken in close to 640,000 refugees.

Children in these camps near the northern Jordanian city of Mafraq say they miss their old lives in Syria, especially going to school.

(L) Zahra Mahmoud, 5, from Deir el-Zour, Syria, poses for a picture at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. (R) Mariam Aloush, 8, from Homs, Syria, says, "I remember our home in Syria and my school there. I just want to go back". Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

(L) Zahra Mahmoud, 5, from Deir el-Zour, Syria, poses for a picture at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. (R) Mariam Aloush, 8, from Homs, Syria, says, "I remember our home in Syria and my school there. I just want to go back".
Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

"I used to go to the school back in Hama," Rakan Raslan, 11, said of his hometown in western Syria. "I used to have friends there. Our home was destroyed in the war and we had to flee to Jordan."

Rakan said that without an education, his future is in doubt. "The best I can become is a driver," he said.

(L) Mona Emad, 5, from Hassakeh, says, “I want to go back to Syria but my father told us that he wants to go to The United States of America.” (R) Hanan Khalid, 7 Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

(L) Mona Emad, 5, from Hassakeh, says, “I want to go back to Syria but my father told us that he wants to go to The United States of America.” (R) Hanan Khalid, 7
Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

Yasmeen Mohammed, 11, whose family fled the town of Eastern Ghouta near the Syrian capital, Damascus, said she misses her old life. "All I want is to go back to my school in Syria and see my friends," she said.

The U.N. agency for children said in a report this week that close to 3 million Syrian children are not in school as a result of the conflict, including some 700,000 refugee children.

(L) Hammad Khadir, 3, from Hassakeh, Syria and (R) Yasmeen Mohammed, 11, from Eastern Ghouta, Syria. Mohammed, whose family fled their town, said she misses her old life. Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

(L) Hammad Khadir, 3, from Hassakeh, Syria and (R) Yasmeen Mohammed, 11, from Eastern Ghouta, Syria. Mohammed, whose family fled their town, said she misses her old life.
Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

The conflict, which entered its sixth year this week, has killed more than 250,000 people in Syria and displaced close to half the pre-war population of 23 million.

In Jordan, only about 100,000 refugees live in three recognised refugee camps and the rest are scattered across the country. Residents of informal tent camps say they can't afford rent in Jordanian communities or they want to be close to jobs on farms.

(L) Aya Bandar, 6, from Hama (R) Mayada Hammid, 8, from Hassakeh, says, “I remember nothing from Syria.” Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

(L) Aya Bandar, 6, from Hama (R) Mayada Hammid, 8, from Hassakeh, says, “I remember nothing from Syria.”
Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

Raddah So'od, 48, a mother of five, said she arrived in Jordan two years ago, after fleeing the northern Syrian town of Hassakeh. "We left our home due to shelling and bombing," she said. "My children's school was bombed, too. There is nothing left for us there."

But in Jordan, prospects for the future are dim.

(L) Rakan Raslan, 11, from Hama, Syria, says, “I used to go to the school back in Hama. I used to have friends there. Our home was destroyed in the war and we had to flee to Jordan.” Rakan said that without an education, his future is in doubt. “The best I can become is a driver,” he said. (R) Zahra al-Jassim, 10, from Hama, says, “I dream of going back to Syria to see my friends Raghd, Halima, and Najwa.” Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

(L) Zahra al-Jassim, 10, from Hama, says, “I dream of going back to Syria to see my friends Raghd, Halima, and Najwa.” (R) Rakan Raslan, 11, from Hama, Syria, says, “I used to go to the school back in Hama. I used to have friends there. Our home was destroyed in the war and we had to flee to Jordan.” Rakan said that without an education, his future is in doubt. “The best I can become is a driver,” he said. Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

"We were forced to leave Syria, fearing for our children's lives," said Bandar al-Humaidy, 42, a father of 13 from Hama. Al-Humaidy now works on a farm near his makeshift tent camp.

"I dream of the day that all this bloodshed will stop and we will go back to our homeland and be able to protect our children and offer them peace and education," he said.

(L) Hiba So'od, 6, from Hassakeh, wants to become a teacher. (R) Ahmad Zughayar, 6, from Deir el-Zour, remembers the sound of homes being bombed in his town. Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

(L) Hiba So'od, 6, from Hassakeh, wants to become a teacher. (R) Ahmad Zughayar, 6, from Deir el-Zour, remembers the sound of homes being bombed in his town.
Image from AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

Associated Press

First Published On : Mar 20, 2016 12:31 IST

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