In the new report "Invisible Wounds" presented by Save the Children, six years of war in Syria are recounted, seen by the eyes of children, who have lived and are experiencing a drama.
5.8 million Syrian children live every day under the bombings in an unrecognizable, completely annihilated Syria. Among these, at least 3 million children have never known anything but bombings and debris and the consequences on the psychological level are devastating.
85% of the Syrian population lives in poverty and 4.6 million people live in besieged or difficult to reach areas, there are 6.3 million displaced persons and 4.9 million - including 2.3 million children - they are refugees in other countries.
Children never smile, they have tried faces and the pain that war causes in their hearts is unspeakable and unacceptable. Two out of three children say they have lost a family member, lost their homes or been injured at least once during the bombing.
"There are children who dream of dying in order to go to heaven and thus have a place to eat and stay warm or who hope to be hit by snipers to get to the hospital and maybe escape from the besieged cities. There are still the children left orphans of war who have food to join the armed groups ", reports Valerio Neri, director general of Save the Children Italy.
Children recruited by military groups are forced to cook and clean for them at checkpoints, before becoming their own soldiers too. A drama in the drama.
Children no longer have any reference points. There are parents who prefer early marriages and turn their daughters into child brides: "They compel them to marry men of richer families who can take care of them, thinking of keeping them so far away from the risk of sexual abuse and violence. Some try to commit suicide in order to avoid ending up in brides with men who do not want ", we read.
"They lost their loved ones, they can not go to school and they have to find ways to survive and suddenly become adults to escape poverty. So many go to work in the markets, like street vendors, to help family members who have often been injured by the bombs and can no longer get a source of income ".
"War is a business and often armed groups are the only ones who have the money to pay," says a young boy in the Save the Children report.
The children are terrified by the bombs: "just the noise of a passing plane or screams to generate terror in children, even a door slammed by the wind can cause panic reactions", it says.
"I hate planes because they killed my father," says Marwan, a six-year-old boy from Aleppo who is no longer able to speak, but only knows how to scream.
Some children start to use drugs, have nightmares, develop mental discomforts, no longer speak.
In Madaya, the medical staff reported to Save the Children at least 6 cases of children who tried to commit suicide within just two months, the youngest was 12 years old.
"The continuous exposure to traumatic events and negative experiences has led most Syrian children to experience a state of toxic stress, with consequences on their mental and physical health, which can interrupt their development", concludes Valerio Neri.