Syria’s Children

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main_900A wounded Syrian girl stands in a makeshift hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of Syria’s capital of Damascus, following shelling and air raids by Syrian government forces on August 22, 2015. At least 20 civilians were killed, and another 200 wounded or trapped in Douma, a monitoring group said, just six days after regime airstrikes killed more than 100 people and sparked international condemnation of one of the bloodiest government attacks in Syria’s war.  Abd Doumany / AFP / Getty


A Syrian refugee tends to her daughter while cooking inside her tent at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan, on August 26, 2015. Muhammed Muheisen / AP


Residents, with their belongings, return to their villages on a pickup truck after Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters said that they regained control of the area from ISIS fighters in the southern countryside of Ras al-Ain on May 13, 2015. Rodi Said / Reuters


A boy carries a bag of new clothes ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, on July 15, 2015. Bassam Khabieh / Reuters


A Turkish soldier offers water to a Syrian refugee child after crossing into Turkey from Syria in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, on June 14, 2015. Lefteris Pitarakis / AP


Syrian children arrive at the Akcakale crossing gate between Turkey and Syria on June 16, 2015. Bulent Kilic / AFP / Getty


A Syrian refugee child drinks tea while standing outside her family’s tent at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan, on August 26, 2015. Muhammed Muheisen / AP


Syrian refugee children laugh as they sit on the side of a road that leads to the Akcakale border gate as they wait to return to their home in the northern Syrian town of Tel Abyad on June 18, 2015. Bulent Kilic / AFP / Getty


A young migrant coming from Syria sleeps on a train heading north from Nis, Serbia, to Belgrade on July 18, 2015. Illegal immigrants cross Serbia on their way to other European countries as it has land access to four members of the 28-nation bloc—Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia. Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP / Getty


Syrian refugees ask for water in Akcakale at the Turkish border near the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, on June 13, 2015. Turkey said it was taking measures to limit the flow of Syrian refugees onto its territory after an influx of thousands more due to fighting between Kurds and jihadists. Under an “open-door” policy, Turkey has taken in 1.8 million Syrian refugees since the conflict in Syria erupted in 2011. Bulent Kilic / AFP / Getty


A man lifts a young girl clear of the wire as Syrians fleeing the war pass through broken-down border fences to enter Turkish territory illegally, near the Turkish Akcakale border crossing in the southeastern Sanliurfa province, on June 14, 2015. Bulent Kilic / AFP / Getty


A Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighter walks with a girl in Tel Abyad town, Raqqa governorate, June 16, 2015. Rodi Said / Reuters


Girls who survived what activists said was a ground-to-ground missile attack by forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad hold hands in Aleppo’s Bab al-Hadeed district on April 7, 2015. Abdalrhman Ismail / Reuters


Syrian migrants cross under a fence as they enter Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, August 27, 2015. Hungary made plans to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police, and dogs, and was also considering using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe. Bernadett Szabo / Reuters


A Syrian youth runs past blood stains and debris following airstrikes by government forces on the rebel-held town of Douma on August 20, 2015, Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP / Getty


Children pose on their bicycles in front of a destroyed building in the center of the Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, Syria. on June 20, 2015. Kurdish fighters with the YPG took full control of Kobane and strategic city of Tal Abyad, dealing a major blow to the Islamic State group’s ability to wage war in Syria. Mopping up operations were started to make the town safe for the return of residents from Turkey, after more than a year of ISIS militants holding control of the town. Ahmet Sik / Getty


Syrian children walk on rubble after their building partially collapsed following a reported airstrike by government forces on a rebel-held area of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on April 19, 2015
Karam Al-Masri

Four and a half years of violent conflict have destroyed entire regions of Syria. Neighborhoods have been smashed by shelling and government barrel bombs, and towns have been seized by rebels and ISIS militants, then retaken by government troops, killing hundreds of thousands and injuring even more. The United Nations now estimates that more than 4 million Syrians have become refugees, forced to flee to neighboring countries or Europe. Caught in the middle of all this horror are the children of Syria, relying on parents who have lost control of their own lives and are now being forced to make difficult choices in desperate circumstances. Though many families remain in Syria’s war zones, thousands of others are taking dangerous measures to escape, evading militias, government forces, border guards, predatory traffickers, and more, as they struggle to reach safety far from home.
Alan Taylor

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