As crisis and violence continue to rage, Syria’s children are continuing to pay a heavy price. Islamic Relief visited Shamreen camp, north of Aleppo, to learn more about the realities of childhood amidst the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.


Bombs and destruction

Hassan and Khaled live in Shamreen camp.

Hassan and Khaled live in Shamreen camp.

Hassan*, 13, says he and his family left their home on the outskirts of Aleppo after the barrel bombs began. The BBC reports that use of these devastating, crude devices – which are packed with shards of metal and explosives and thrown from helicopters – caused tens of thousands of people to flee.

He and his five brothers now live with their father and stepmother in a caravan. Since Hassan left his village, he has not gone to school.

His friend, Khaled*, 12, has not been to classes since his school was destroyed during an attack. His father died as he rescued children wounded in an aerial bombardment of Aleppo. Now, he and fourteen of his relatives live in the camp, with no breadwinner or source of income.

Abdul*, 11, is a bright boy from a village close to a military port to the north of Aleppo. The village suffered heavy shelling and bombing, which killed his cousin. His house was destroyed by barrel bombs, he told us, alongside six other homes nearby. An explosion – which killed five children and injured two more – damaged Abdul’s hearing.

Mohammed doesn’t go to school anymore.

Mohammed doesn’t go to school anymore.

Futures on hold

Mohammed*, 15, is from the same village as Abdul. He should be focussed on his studies, but instead he and his two brothers face an uncertain future as well as the hardships of life in the camp.

Bilal*, 12, is one of the few children in the camp who is still going to school. He lives with six of his relatives, and takes classes at a school set up in the camp.

Bilal is one of the few children in the camp who attends school.

Bilal is one of the few children in the camp who attends school.

The cost of crisis

According to the United Nations, more than 10,000 children have been killed in Syria crisis – and millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

The crisis has cost children their parents or close relatives. It has cost them their education, their security. It has cost them their childhood.

Islamic Relief has been working deep inside Syria since 2012, to provide vital humanitarian aid to vulnerable children and their families. We also support thousands of families in nearby countries.

*Names changed for protection purposes