“I’m afraid of my future.”

“I don’t want to feel any emotions here.”

“The last two years have destroyed my ambitions.”

Those are quotes from a Syrian teenage refugee. They come via the New Yorker, which posts photos taken by Elena Dorfman, who was on assignment from the UN Refugee Agency.

UNICEF documents the toll of this conflict on Syrian children in bi-weekly reports. As of last week, there were 3.1 million children are affected by the conflict inside Syria and over 1 million children are now registered as refugees. This is about half the number of refugees and conflict-affected in total.  Aid agencies are doing what they can with the limited resources they have to add a semblance of normalcy, but this is a massive crisis and international donations are not keeping pace with the need.

A generation of children are at risk of suffering from PTSD and missing school, and all the other problems of having their formative years shaped by severe trauma. Here are some children in their own words.

This is a tragedy in its own right. But the international community should also start asking itself about the long term consequences for international peace and security of having a generation of children so affected. Unless we can get a handle on this, today’s “refugee crisis” could morph into a years-long crisis born from having huge numbers of traumatized, unemployed and unemployable young people.

 

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