Doing your best to give your child the childhood they deserve is something every parent strives for. But for some, no matter how they try, it’s beyond their power and control to allow their little ones to live care-free. 

 A video of a Syrian father trying to distract his young daughter from the devastating sounds of bombs and explosions is breaking hearts all around the world. 

This reminds us of the terror people of Syria are forced to go through every single day. Young children are raised without ever experiencing what it feels like to be playing outside without fearing for their life. 

Abdullah Mohammad and his family fled their home in the eastern countryside of Idlib after the government attempted to recapture the opposition-held province and found shelter at a friend’s house in Sarmada. 

Since the beginning of the war on the territory of Syria, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and nearly half of the country’s population has been displaced. Civilians die every single day and many describe this war as the biggest humanitarian catastrophe. 

The psychological effects this war has on little children may never be overcome, so Mohammad came up with a game in order to protect 4-year-old Salwa from experiencing fear at such young age. 

So, whenever a bombs explodes, the two laugh as loud as they can. He convinced her how those sounds are just part of their game.

“I decided to teach Salwa this game to prevent her psychological state from collapsing. So as to not be affected by diseases relating to fear. She is a child who does not understand war,” this caring and loving father explained. 

Many journalist, among which local Ali Mustafa, shared the heartbreaking video of Mohammad and Salwa on Twitter. Many couldn’t help by share it too, expressing their anger and sadness over what Syria and its people has come to. 

Selar Otman says that no matter how happy this father looks while laughing along his daughter, his eyes reveal the pain and the helplessness he is trapped in. Maggie Diamond added how this father is trying to protect his innocent girl “to the best of his ability” and sent her prayers to the people of Idlib. She asked the “governments of the world” to step up for the Syrian people and pt an end to their suffering. 

Many of the Syrian children have never known peace. They were born in the midst of the war that killed their families and destroyed their hometowns and houses. 

“It’s the country’s children who have suffered the most and have the most to lose,” said UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore.

Syrian Psychiatrist Mohammad Abo-Hilal says the side effects this war has on the little ones are deep and probably life-long.

“They experience loss and separation, and lose family cohesion and the life of the community that provides them with protection and safety,” he said.

The destruction they witness unfolding before their tiny eyes every single day, leaves children traumatized and it affects their brain development, learning abilities, their immune system and a lot more. “The body systems that are most rapidly developing when the experiences happen are the ones that are going to be most impacted. For little kids, all of their systems are coming online and developing, so there is a much greater risk of impact across all of their systems,” said Stacy Dury, neuroscientist and child psychologist.

Mark Lowcock, the UN head of humanitarian affairs and emergency relief says, “The crisis in northwest Syria has reached a horrifying new level.”

Most of the civilians who were forced to leave their homes are women and children “who are traumatized and forced to sleep outside in freezing temperatures because camps are full. Mothers burn plastic to keep children warm. Babies and small children are dying because of the cold,” he adds. 

“Health facilities, schools, residential areas, mosques, and markets have been hit. Schools are suspended, many health facilities have closed. There is a serious risk of disease outbreaks. Basic infrastructure is falling apart. We are now receiving reports that settlements for displaced people are being hit, resulting in deaths, injuries and further displacement. The equipment and facilities being used by aid workers are being damaged. Humanitarian workers themselves are being displaced and killed,” he said in his statement.

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