How Syria's children have been hit by a decade long blood-soaked war

  • Video report from ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine

When Syria's blood-soaked civil war began, few could have imagined that ten years on, President Bashar al-Assad would still be waging war on his own people.

Many children in the Middle Eastern country have known nothing else. With the anniversary days away, more than six million children are in need of humanitarian assistance .

The cost of the conflict on Syria's children:

Source: UNICEF/Save The Children

Ghaleb was just a year old when he lost his leg during the conflict. He's now the same age as the war, which has claimed both his parents' lives.

Ghaleb lost both of his parents to the war.

He lives in a camp for displaced orphans and widowers with his grandmother, 67-year-old Jamila. These camps were created for safety reasons - in a situation with so little humanity, fatherless families are especially vulnerable.

Jamila tells ITV that Ghaleb was being cradled in his mother's arms when an airstrike came in. It killed her and left Ghaleb injured.

During the first year of the war, Ghaleb's father was arrested by the regime and hasn't been heard from since.

Their horror story is all too common. 83-year-old Safia is raising her two orphaned grandchildren. Her son was killed with his wife in an airstrike on their town of Kafer Zeta. 

"We also lost our land, our house and all our possessions," she says.

23-year-old Hanan takes care of nine children in total.

In Idlib, Hanan raises her three-year-old girl alongside eight orphan children (six are her cousins and two are her step-children). She is only 23.

"I have to be their mother, father, teacher and friend," she says.

Throughout the ten-year conflict, Syrians like Hanan, Jamila and Ghaleb have had their stories documented by filmmaker and ITV News collaborator Humam Husari. Humam, who is Syrian himself, began to record the impact of the war on his fellow citizens whilst he was living under siege.

As airstrikes increased, Humam had no choice but to flee to Istanbul in 2018.

  • Humam reunites with his parents in Turkey after five years apart

At the time, he told ITV News: "I feel lucky, but at the same time, I still think: 'What about them?'"

Humam returned temporarily to continue filmmaking and thanks to him, the terrible cost of a decade long war on Syria's youngsters cannot be dismissed.