March 15, 2018

Seven years of conflict, seven moving and inspiring images of Syrian children

Seven years into the emergency, Syria's conflict has driven over five and a half million people into exile

Photo credit: Save the Children

The conflict has affected millions of children, who have been attacked, driven from their homes and left without an education.

The conflict in Syria began seven years ago today - when anti-government protests led to unimaginable horror that shocked the world.

The result of the Syrian conflict has been hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of people on the move and education disrupted for a whole generation of children.

More than eight million children have been directly affected - six million of them inside Syria and another 2.6 million who are registered refugees in other countries.

More than 40% of Syrian refugee children remain out of school. In Syria, schools have been bombed and attacked.

Here we look at iconic images that sum up the suffering of Syria's children and the amazing resilience they have shown in the face of tragedy - interspersed with quotes that also tell a story.

Six-year-old Radwan in front of his family’s tent - his sisters laugh as he poses in the snow at Al-Nour camp for displaced people in rural Idlib, Syria

Photo credit: UNICEF / Alwan

I feel depressed and as if I’m in another world. When I wake up I realise that I’m still here and then I cannot move my body.

Mohammed, 15, from Eastern Ghouta

Two girls play at the Land of Childhood underground playground in a besieged Syrian town. Two basements are linked with a tunnel to provide children with a safe place to enjoy themselves

Photo credit: UNICEF / Alshami

The scope, the scale, the gravity of the crimes against the children of Syria are just shocking.

Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

Four-year-old Esraa cuddles her brother Waleed, who is three, near a shelter for internally displaced persons in Aleppo

Photo credit: UNICEF / Al-Issa

There are cases of extreme panic and fright during class when the planes come suddenly. All the students start crying and become scared.

Aya, a teacher in Idlib

Faisal, eight, makes a snowman with friends at the Al-Nour camp in rural Idlib

Photo credit: UNICEF / Alwan

When I went back to school I was so happy as I hadn’t been to school in three years. I don’t want to waste my chance here.

Bassam, 14-year-old who was living in Turkey then moved to Austria to be with his father

Refugee children living in Turkey learn circus tricks from the organisation Her Yerde Sanat to help them integrate into their host country

Photo credit: Her Yerde Sanat / Facebook

There are scars in children and there are scars on children that will never be erased.

Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF director for Middle East and north Africa

Nine-year-old Safi still bears the scars of a bombing attack on his school in Antakya, Syria, when shrapnel hit his face and back

Photo credit: UNICEF / Yurtsever

Half of the displaced children are not going to school. Many of those displaced inside Syria have also lost many academic years. We have, no doubt, a lost generation.

Amin Awad, UNHCR Bureau Director for Middle East and North Africa
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