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Syrian children dream of better future

Updated: 2014-11-17 13:17

Syrian children dream of better future

Syrian refugee children play in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz, near the Syrian-Turkish border, Oct 27, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Muhammad Tellawi, an 11-year-old boy, was strolling with his father at the time-honored Marjeh Square in the heart of Damascus, holding his camera and snapping photos of the pigeons flying around the square.

Tellawi said he is a football fan who like to travel a lot with his parents. "I like sport, particularly football, and my dream is to become a famous football player because I like to travel around the world."

His sister, Nour, carrying a huge pink cotton candy, also shared her brother's dream of traveling around the world, seeming unwilling to cloud her dreams by the current situation in her country.

"I am in the ninth grade. I like math and English and I dream of becoming an engineer and travelling around the world to build beautiful buildings and skyscrapers."

However, a lot of Syrian families have recently become reluctant to send their kids to schools or move to safer places inside the capital to be close to safer schools as well.

During the crisis, over 40 attacks, ranging from mortar shelling to suicide bombings, have targeted schools across Syria.

Last month, over 40 kids were killed when a booby-trapped car went off in the pro-government neighborhood of Ekrima in the central province of Homs.

The deadly attack shed light on the immense threat facing the Syrian children. The crisis also destroyed or damaged more than 3, 400 schools, according to Save the Children, an international children's charity.

Humanitarian organizations have sounded the alarm about the repercussions of the prolonged crisis on the well-being of the Syrian kids. By late August 2014, the opposition activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported the number of children killed in the conflict had risen to 9,428.

Kumar Tiku, UNICEF Chief of Communication, told Xinhua that the number of the afflicted people in Syria is staggering, noting that "it's probably the biggest humanitarian and protection crisis that the world has ever seen since the World War II."

"More than 12 million people affected, half of them children. Within Syria we estimate more than five million now are children who are in need. There are about 4.3 million people who are in very hard-to-reach areas, a million of these people are children," Tiku said.

"We estimate almost two million children are unable to access school with any amount of regularity. Half a million children will add to the legions of dropouts this year," he added.

He said his organization is looking at reaching one million children this year with what they call "back to school" supplies. "This is a promise to the Syrian children. We reached one million children last year. A lot many more need to be reached in this country."

He warned that the humanitarian access continues to be a major impediment to his organization's efforts to reach the children of Syria, adding that more than 750,000 children are living in very active conflict areas.

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