A little girl sleeps on the cot amid a forest near the Syrian border, another hopes that tonight she doesn’t wake up to nightmares. The ongoing civil war in Syria has left more than 4 million people homeless and the biggest collateral damage, experts agree, is the country’s children. Frequent bombings and air strikes have turned thousands of children into orphans.
According to UNICEF, more than 2 million children have fled and are living in other countries without a definitive future.
Nearly 12,000 children have been killed among deaths of 240,381 people, estimates The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), since the war began in March 2011. Also, the UNHCR reports that most children refugees in other countries are engaged in Child Labour to fend for their families.
Amidst this chaos, a Swedish photographer Magnus Wennman went on a tour to Europe and the Middle East to capture the plight of these children who have endured mental and physical abuse during the war.
Most refugees have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Irag and Egypt and it’s a tragedy for these children to be damaged as a result of something they largely fail to understand.The children showed the photographer where they sleep and what it’s like to be living in a place unfamiliar and full of uncertainty leaving their homes and loved ones behind.
These poignant photographs are a reminder that wars cause untold damage to children, perhaps the worst affected in any situation.
Lamar, 5 years old
Her family was on their way to buy food when a bomb dropped and left them with no choice but to flee. Now she sleeps in a forest near Hungary’s closed border. “Thousands of refugees are still waiting at the Hungarian border. No one knows what will happen now,” writes Wennman in his Instagram post.
Fara, 2 years old
She loves to play football and her father has tried each bit to maker her one in the hope of buying a real one someday. “All other dreams seem to be beyond his reach, but he is not giving up on this one,” writes Wennman.
Walla, 5 years old
This little one from Aleppo cries every night in the refugee camp. “Resting her head on the pillow is horrible, she says, because night-time is horrible. That was when the attacks happened,” he writes.
Mohammed, 13 years old
He loves houses and huge buildings but he never go back to his own because it was bombed. “Lying in his hospital bed, he wonders whether he will ever fulfill his dream of becoming an architect,” writes Wennman.
Moyad, 5 years old
Wennman writes that he lost his mother during the bombing in Deraa. Now Moyad lies on this hospital bed with shrapnel in his head and pelvis.
Ralia, 7 years old and Rahaf, 13 years old
Hailing from Damascus, the two sisters were found on the streets of Beirut. They have come with their father after losing their mother and brother. Wennman writes, “They are always close to each other. Rahaf says she is afraid of “bad boys”. When she says it Ralia starts to cry.”
Maram, 8 years old
The photographer found her on a hospital bed in Amman, Jordan battling a severe head injury. She stares at the empty walls in the hope of getting rid of the pain. “Maram is one of the few who managed to cross the border to Jordan for medical treatment,” he writes.