Syrian war leaves children psychologically traumatised

Dark memories daunt children fleeing Syrian war, affecting their mental health

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Syrian children playing at Al Zaatari refugee camp near the border with Syria

Updated Dec 13, 2015

Families escaping war have to deal with the consequences of what they have lived and are running from, everyday in their new realities.

Forced to leave their homes, to a life they have not chosen, they try to adapt to a new environment since going back is currently not an option for them.

Gayth, a 15-year old boy who ran away from Syria is an example of those children.

His memories are still fresh from the day he had to flee his home with his family.

“Once me and my brother were going to fill some water. My brother filled his bucket and went home and suddenly a large bomb was dropped in the neighborhood. So me and four men, we hid behind an electrical generator. We stood there while the explosion had gone and a lot of people died. We saw the bomb fragments and we saw the pieces of flesh,” Gayth told TRT World.

The psychological trauma Syrian refugee children are left with is obvious in every day of their lives.

According to reports, 30 percent of Syrian refugee children show symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while the sources to help them get through such a conditions are limited.

Gayth, is now continuing school in a community centre in the Turkish town of Hatay.

“I noticed he is really smart but he is also distracted, he looks sad and kind of depressed,” Gayth’s teacher Mossaub El Moshantaf told TRT World when asked about Gayth.  

However, this condition can be seen in about 80 other children who seek help at the center.

“We asked them, in kind of our activity, to draw themselves. You can notice their faces are sad,”  Moshantaf said. “One time i asked a child to draw itself and he draw his house and his mother lying outside full of blood because she is killed,” he added.

As TRT World reports, the community centre provides a safe place for children to learn.

“I would like to be a successful person and I would like to be a doctor who helps people and I would like to be a professor to discover new things and help all of humanity,” Gayth said.

At least 40,000 women and children had been killed mostly by Assad forces in the ongoing civil war between March 2011 and October 31, 2015, according to a report by Syrian Network for Human Rights.

The report announced that more than 20,000 women had been killed in the civil conflict, including nearly 18,917 slaughtered by the Assad regime forces while Russian forces are responsible for the death of 72 women, the report said.