Syrian Refugee Children Are Asleep In Photos That The World Needs To See.
For the last five years, terror has grown in Syria, leaving its residents scrambling to try and find a way to survive. As spectators, we watch the violence unfold and comment on the damage, wondering about big issues such as drone strikes, terror, and the United States' involvement. However, until now, few probably thought of what is perhaps one of the most important factors of the refugee crisis: The children.
Magnus Wennman has recently released a series of images entitled "Where The Children Sleep," which focuses on Syria's young refugees and how they and their parents cope when night falls and there's no place to go. Their stories, taken from the Aftenbladet, are heartbreaking, but necessary to read to understand the full scope and gravity of this tragic situation. Read them below.
Walaa, 5 years old, Dar-El-Ias
"Walaa, 5, wants to go home. She had her own room in Aleppo, she tells us. There, she never used to cry at bedtime. Here, in the refugee camp, she cries every night. Resting her head on the pillow is horrible, she says, because nighttime is horrible. That was when the attacks happened. By day, Walaa’s mother often builds a little house out of pillows, to teach her that they are nothing to be afraid of."
Fatima, 9 years old
"Every night, Fatima dreams that she’s falling from a ship. Together with her mother, Malaki, and her two siblings, Fatima fled from the city Idlib when the Syrian national army senselessly slaughtered civilians in the city. After two years in a refugee camp in Lebanon, the situation became unbearable and they made it to Libya where they boarded an overcrowded boat. On the deck of the boat, a very pregnant woman gave birth to her baby after twelve hours in the scorching sun. The baby was a stillbirth and was thrown overboard. Fatima saw everything. When the refugee’s boat started to take on water, they were picked up by the Italian coastguard."
Moyad, 5 years old, Amman
"Moyad, 5, and his mother needed to buy flour to make a spinach pie. Hand in hand, they were on their way to the market in Dar’a. They walked past a taxi in which someone had placed a bomb. Moyad’s mother died instantly. The boy, who has been airlifted to Jordan, has shrapnel lodged in his head, back and pelvis."
Fara, 2 years old, Azraq
"Fara, 2, loves soccer. Her dad tries to make balls for her by crumpling up anything he can find, but they don’t last long. Every night, he says goodnight to Fara and her big sister Tisam, 9, in the hope that tomorrow will bring them a proper ball to play with. All other dreams seem to be beyond his reach, but he is not giving up on this one."
Abdullah, 5 years old, Belgrad, Serbia
"Abdullah has a blood disease. For the last two days, he has been sleeping outside of the central station in Belgrade. He saw the killing of his sister in their home in Daraa. “He is still in shock and has nightmares every night,” says his mother. Abdullah is tired and is not healthy, but his mother does not have any money to buy medicine for him."
Shiraz, 9 years old, Suruc
"Shiraz, 9, was three months old when she was stricken with a severe fever. The doctor diagnosed polio and advised her parents to not spend too much money on medicine for the girl who “didn’t have a chance.” Then the war came. Her mother, Leila, starts crying when she describes how she wrapped the girl in a blanket and carried her over the border from Kobane to Turkey. Shiraz, who can’t talk, received a wooden cradle in the refugee camp. She lies there. Day and night."
Mohammed, 13 years old
"NIZIP. Mohammed, 13, loves houses. Back home, in Aleppo, he used to enjoy walking around the city looking at them. Now, many of his favourite buildings are gone, blown to pieces. Lying in his hospital bed, he wonders whether he will ever fulfill his dream of becoming an architect. – The strangest thing about war is that you get used to feeling scared. I wouldn’t have believed that, says Mohammed."
Ahmed, 6 years old, Horgos, Serbia
"It is after midnight when Ahmed falls asleep in the grass. The adults are still sitting around, formulating plans for how they are going to get out of Hungary without registering themselves with the authorities. Ahmed is six years old and carries his own bag over the long stretches that his family walks by foot. “He is brave and only cries sometimes in the evenings,” says his uncle, who has taken care of Ahmed since his father was killed in their hometown Deir ez-Zor in northern Syria."
Amir, 20 months, Zahle Fayda
"Amir, 20 months, was born a refugee. His mother believes her son was traumatized in the womb. “Amir has never spoken a single word,” says Shahana, 32. In the plastic tent where the family now lives, Amir has no toys, but he plays with whatever he can find on the ground. “He laughs a lot, even though he doesn’t talk,” says his mother."
Abdul Karim, 17 years old
"Abdul Karim Addo has no money left. He bought a ferry ticket to Athens for his last euros.
Now he spends the night in Omonoia Square, where hundreds of refugees are arriving every day. Here, smugglers are making big money arranging false passports as well as bus and plane tickets to people in flight – but Abdul Karin is not going anywhere. He is able to borrow a telephone and call home to his mother in Syria, but he is not able to tell her how bad things are.
'She cries and is scared for my sake and I don’t want to worry her more.'
He unfolds his blanket in the middle of the square and curls up in the fetal position.
'I dream of two things: to sleep in a bed again and to hug my younger sister.'"
Mahdi, 1.5 years old
"Horgos/Roszke. Mahdi is one and one half years old. He has only experienced war and flight. He sleeps deeply despite the hundreds of refugees climbing around him. They are protesting against not being able to travel further through Hungary. On the other side of the border, hundreds of police are standing. They have orders from the Primary Minister Viktor Orbán to protect the border at every cost. The situation is becoming more desperate and the day after the photo is taken, the police use tear gas and water cannons on the refugees."