There are approximately 11 million Syrian refugees today and the number is rising due to the ongoing war in Syria. only in Turkey alone, there are by June 2016, 2. 739 326 refugees living both inside and outside of the government-run camps. There are Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, Iraq, southern Kurdistan (in Northern Iraq), Lebanon, Macedonia, and Greece.
We have during this winter seen disturbing images from the Syrian refugee camps, first of all, they live in tents in the middle of winter. The result of that is the tragic death of many small children who froze to death, and the number is rising. We see images of small children with sandals in the snow often barefoot, and only summer jackets to endure the cold.
All these refugees only escaped with the clothes on their backs, they run from bombs and genocide committed by the Russian and Assad armies by air and the Hezbollah and IRGC on the ground. they had to flee in the middle of the night with no luggage and on foot.
The journey from their hometowns to the camps are hard and many old people and children die on the way. For those who escaped to Greece, there are many who drown in the ocean mostly children and women. The hardship does not end with a safe arrival to a camp. This is when the fight to stay alive really starts.
We have seen images from the borders of some countries where border guards are treating refugees as if they are criminals, have they not suffered enough? After arrival at the camp the struggle to get food starts, the fight to keep your family alive never stops and on top of that all refugees are struggling with memories of shelling and death of family members. The refugees are often deprived of basic needs like clean water and food, the children can not go to school. Their lives are on hold and for many of the refugees, the camp will be their home for many years to come.
In Lebanon the Syrian child refugees are working under terrible conditions to help their family’s survival. Their income often keeps the family from starving to death. Most of the children have never been to school because in Syria the school is closed due to heavy bombing and as refugees, the children have to work to survive.
The Zaatari camp on the Jordanian border has turned into the ninth largest city in Jordan with its 80 000 inhabitants. The camp was created in 2011 as part of a massive emergency response when the civil war in Syria started. The rapid growth of the camp has made it difficult to maintain basic services in all areas of the camp. For some areas, the health and education services can be far away from where they live. The camp has turned into a city and that requires a permanent access to water and the short term solutions have to be replaced.
There are many refugees within the borders of Syria, they have tried to save their families from the Russian bombs and the IRGC and Assad army snipers. But the killings follow them when the inhabitants of eastern Aleppo was forced to flee to Idlib Assad’s bombs followed them.
It is our duty as citizens of the world community to do all in our power to help all children in need so why are we so reluctant to help Syrian children? What is it that makes us treat Syrian children as if they are criminals?