16-03-2021 | Latest News , Middle East

Young Syrians describe heavy toll of conflict during “decade of savage loss”

March 15 & 16 - New stories – footage and soundbites - highlighted below.

BROLL 1 – Ahmad, a 23-year-old refugee in Lebanon navigating difficult circumstances.

BROLL 2 – Rami, a 29-year old artist displaced to Aleppo from his hometown.

BROLL 3 – Youssef, is a 23-year-old refugee who is starting over in Germany.

BROLL 4 – Iman, a 26-year old student settling into her new life in Barcelona.

BROLL 5 – Fatima, a 28-year old refugee running a small business in a camp in Lebanon.

BROLL 6 – Mouna, a 33-year-old single mother and amputee doing her best in Aleppo.

BROLL 7- Samira, a Syrian refugee in Madrid struggling without her extended family.

BROLL 8 - Amina, a female mechanic raising her family in rural Damascus.

BROLL 9 . Taher, a Syrian refugee in Germany studying to be a doctor.

As the crisis in Syria moves into its second decade, a survey commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross highlights the heavy price paid by young Syrians.

1,400 Syrians between the ages of 18-25 were surveyed in Syria, Lebanon and Germany. Across the three countries, young people spoke of families and friendships torn apart, immense economic hardship and worry, frustrated ambitions, missed milestones and the profound psychological toll of years of relentless violence and disruption.

29-year old Rami Asfar, who left his hometown Hama to move to Aleppo during the conflict, said the decision to leave was one he will never forget.

“This war changed my life completely. I’m changed where I live, my ambitions, all my plans. I even changed my university major. I’ve been forced to find better conditions in these bad ones.

Economic opportunities and jobs top young Syrians’ list of what they need most, followed by healthcare, education and psychological support. Women have been particularly hard-hit economically, with almost 30% in Syria reporting no income at all to support their family. Young Syrians in Lebanon report humanitarian assistance among their top needs.

Ahmad, originally from Homs and living in Lebanon, says his situation is worsening by day.

“I had more money when I was 10 years old than now when I am 24. I have nothing of my personal belongings I used to have at home. I used to have my own wardrobe, desk and computer. 

26-year old Iman Shebli lived in Lebanon with her family for several years before moving to Barcelona to study. 

“I started from zero. People around me told me it is difficult to find a job because of economic problems and the coronavirus situation,” she said.

The conflict’s impact on mental health is also clear. In the past 12 months, young people in Syria have experienced sleep disorders (54%), anxiety (73%), depression (58%), solitude (46%), frustration (62%) and distress (69%) because of the conflict. In all three countries, young Syrians said access to psychological support was one of the things they needed most.

For Asfar, now an artist and selling his designs in his gallery in his adopted city, the worst part of the war was the psychological impact.

“I don’t have any physical injuries. For me the psychological and emotional damage was the hardest part. I’ve tried to get over it but it left me with scars. This wound will live with me for a lifetime.”

Despite everything, most young Syrians surveyed said they are optimistic about the future. Their hopes and ambitions for the next decade are universally recognisable: safety and stability, a chance to have a family and a well-paid job, affordable and accessible healthcare and services, and an end to the upheaval and conflict.

·         ICRC leadership and spokespeople are available for interview from various locations

·         Press release “ICRC: Millions of young Syrians pay heavy toll during decade of loss”

·         Full report is available on icrc.org

For more information and interview requests please contact:

Adnan Hezam, ICRC Damascus, ahizam@icrc.org  ,+963 930 336 718  (Arabic)

Sara Alzawqari, ICRC Beirut, salzawqari@icrc.org , +961 31 38353, (English, Arabic)

Ruth Hetherington, ICRC Geneva, rhetherington@icrc.org  , +33 6 33 288823 (English)

 

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