A lifetime of war

7-year-old refugees tell the story of Syria’s next generation as conflict reaches 7-year mark

Abdulhadi Abu Day, 7, with his school books in the informal settlement in Lebanon where he lives with his family. © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez

7 birthdays.

All spent under the shroud of a war they had no business creating. Each of these Syrian refugee children, from the smiling twin girls in Jordan to the boy who is beating the odds in Lebanon, have something in common. They are as old as the war.

Abdulhadi misses his grandfather’s house and his rabbits back in Syria.

He is 7 years old. UNHCR estimates that there are now more than a million Syrian refugee children like Abdulhadi who have never known their country at peace, their earliest memories shaped by war and exile.

Photos: © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez

Alaa and Aya’s home in Homs was struck by a bomb in 2013. They lost everything. Everything but each other.

The twins now live in Jordan. Alaa wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Aya dreams of being a dentist.

Photos: © UNHCR/Annie Sakkab

Mohammad: “I like school.’’
What do you learn at school?
Mohammad: “English, Arabic, math.’’

7-year-old Mohammad lost his left hand when a shell struck his home in Palmyra, Syria. Against all odds he is now learning to read, speak, and live a new life in Lebanon.

Photos: © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez

Vahide wants to be like her big sister. She wants to be a policewoman.

This curly-haired girl is one of 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. She’s already mastered the Turkish language and loves to draw and paint.

Photos: © UNHCR/Emrah Gurel

“When my father passed away, my relatives told us to come to the camp. That’s why we’re here.”

Youssef became a Syrian refugee at the age of two, the same age he lost his father to the war.

Photos: © UNHCR/Claire Thomas

Huda was born in Homs. She fled to Turkey. Now she enjoys her life in Berlin.

But she misses her grandparents. They are still in Syria.

Photos: © UNHCR/Gordon Welters

“I like very much to study and my school is pretty and cool.”

Salam and her family fled from Damascus to Egypt. She recently begun her studies in her new hometown: Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Photos: © UNHCR/Filipe Redondo

These 7-year-old kids represent the best of Syrian refugees. They embody resilience and have the power to inspire.

But when the guns falls silent and the bombs cease to fall from the sky, they will inherit what is left of Syria.

The relentless suffering of Syrian civilians marks a shameful failure of political will, these children are a 7-year-old reminder that the bloodshed must end.

Learn more about UNHCR’s work to protect and assist Syrian refugees here.