Displaced children in Syria and abroad want life away from war-torn country, report says

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

Hundreds of Syrian children have said they cannot imagine a life in their war-torn country, a new report has revealed.

Many of them have also cited discrimination and poverty as main factors.

The 40-page study, released on Tuesday by Save the Children, comes as Syria marks 10 years since the beginning of its bloody war, now widely seen as a proxy conflict.

The war, which began in 2011 saw thousands of Syrians join a wave of anti-government Arab Spring uprisings across the region. In response, authorities launched a brutal crackdown on dissent. Millions fled the country, and hundreds of thousands have been killed.

Those displaced inside Syria said they felt least connected to their communities, the report said. In addition, they were “significantly more likely to report having experienced discrimination” than their peers in Jordan or Lebanon, despite being in their country of origin. In Syria and Lebanon, young girls spoke about “general injustice” in society that leads to discrimination and inequality and mentioned the need for “stronger legislation” to ensure people are treated equally. Meanwhile in Jordan, 36 percent of refugee children of school age are not enrolled in any formal or informal education system. In Lebanon, about 80 percent of refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line.

In contrast, in the Netherlands, 70 percent of Syrian children said they saw a “positive future”, and all surveyed received an education. Those who wanted to stay cited language, education, economic opportunity and “freedom” as reasons. In its recommendations, Save the Children called on “all stakeholders” to protect Syria’s children from the physical and psychological violence.

It also called on governments – including in Syria and in hosting countries – to increase opportunities for resettlement to third countries for those refugees with urgent protection needs.

The organisation also said that Syrian children have a right to grow up in an environment where they are free from constant fear for their safety, are not forced to live in displacement and fear of further uprooting, and are no longer discriminated against simply because of where they come from.