Children of Syria

Picture by freedomhouse

Picture by freedomhouse

By Lucette Davies

The Syrian Revolution is now in its third year.  With over 70,000  people killed, hundreds of thousands injured and one million refugees Britain and France have now expressed their intention to help arm the Syrian Resistance.

Prince Charles and Camilla were filmed talking about the effect of the war on the children of Syria.  As the numbers of children killed or injured are reported I found myself thinking of what this will mean for Syria in ten or twenty years time when the conflict is over and the children affected by the war are adults.

A person can deal psychologically with immediate danger surprisingly well.  When the stress has passed we are not so well equipped to return to a more normal way of being. We see this in post traumatic stress disorder and many other psychological difficulties.

Save the Children has said that one in three Syrian children has been punched, kicked or shot at often only just escaping with their lives.  Children are being used by both sides as soldiers and informers.  Two out of three children are separated from their families and 50% of all rapes are against children.  Susan McKay, a professor at the University of Wyoming made the statement, when talking about help given to any country after war: “Children are low on the totem pole but girl children are even lower.”  Rape is commonly used as a weapon in Syria and girls are often married off in an attempt to ensure their safety.

The UN General Assembly has looked at the impact of war on children but when planning for how help needs to be given did admit that there are not enough psychologists adequately trained.

Childrenoften internalize violence but later in life feel a need to act it out.  Children in Syria are drawing pictures of war and playing games of pretend wars.  This play could help resolve their feelings but without help it could reinforce a belief that violence is normal.

I hope that this war can be brought to an end soon and feel the world needs to be involved in helping this happen.  I do not have enough knowledge to know if Britain and France should or could help in a military way.  But, I do hope that Britain is thinking ahead and looking at helping the children of Syria.  The future of Syria looks bleak if these children grow up without assistance.

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