According to a report prepared by UK-based charity organization Save the Children, almost two million lives of children have been affected in the ongoing Syrian conflict between forces loyal to the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party government and the rebels.
The disturbing analysis of the report further says that innocent children are being recruited by armed groups on both sides of the civil war. They are being misused as porters, security guards, informers and fighters. In some really alarming cases, as it so happens in a war-stricken country, the children are also functioning as human shields. The hands which are supposed to hold a pen are being forced to hold weapons and guns. The two-year old conflict, between Bashar al Assad’s forces and those who want to oust him, is affecting a whole generation, not just a population.
This is perhaps the worst repercussion of the civil unrest. The poor children are suffering ‘layers and layers of emotional trauma’, according to Save the Children.
Kids are taught about basic morals and values during childhood. These Syrian children, on the other hand, are being taught how to choose sides in a war. They are being manipulated to the miscreants’ advantage. Their education is being disrupted as more than 2000 schools have been either damaged or have become shelters for displaced people. If these children are nurtured in an environment so toxic, one that smells of gun smoke and ash, they would never be able to get out of that ‘warrior’ mindset.
A news report states, “A boy of 12 sees his best friend shot through the heart. Another of 15 is held in a cell with 150 other people, and taken out every day to be put in a giant wheel and burnt with cigarettes.” As upsetting as it sounds, it must be even worse for the ones who are actually going through it.
Almost 70,000 people have died in this conflict. We cannot expect much for these children who have seen death, weapons, sexual violence and so much devastation. It would take a whole lot more than mere counseling to stabilize them whenever the war comes to an end.