Generation Trauma

by 

- March 2013

In the Bab al-Salameh refugee camp, in northern Aleppo province, children are suffering from their experiences of the Syrian Civil War.

Children are playing on the dusty ground of the refugee-camp near the border crossing Bab al-Salameh, meaning „gate to peace“. Some of them are throwing murmurs, others are playing cards. One of them is inflating a ballon, the atmosphere is filled with joy and laughter. Even if there is heavy fighting only a few kilometers away, the war seems to be forgotten and far away in this moment.

Suddenly, the ballon bursts, the 8 years old Syed is frightend and jerks. With the bang of the bursting ballon, the memories immediately come back. Memorys of bombs, of shelling, of war.

For more than two years, a bloody war is taking place in Syria. It is hard to find anyone who has not lost friends or relatives, during this time, in northern Aleppo province. Scud rockets are destroying homes during the nights. Kids have seen their parents, brothers or sisters dying. Fighters are often very young, shooting at people they may have met in university before the war. They all have to cope with the experiences, they had to make.

Post traumatic stress syndrom is a very serious problem in war-zones, which is often not mentioned enough. Doctors are talking about cases of epilepsy or sleep disturbance, in relation to the post traumatic syndrom, also many children are reacting badly to loud noises, remembering the noises of war. Campdoctor Dr. Al Masr, of Bab-al-Salameh refugee-camp says, “the trauma can have different impacts, but all of these children and teenagers here are traumatized. The whole generation growing up now is a generation of war”.