المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Suffering of Syrian children is so extreme, doctors had to come up with new trauma term

Syria’s children of war have experienced more trauma, physical and emotional pain, than any medical professionals have seen.

The oft-orphaned children, who have had members of their family blown apart by a regime barrel bomb or a Russian cruise missile or even a US airstrike, are suffering more than just post-traumatic stress.

These children are suffering from “Human devastation syndrome,” Dr Mohammad K Hamza, a neuropsychologist with the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS), told ATTN on Friday.

Dr Hamza, who also chairs the mental health committee of SAMS, believes the destruction witnessed by Syrian children is beyond what any soldier at war can see.

“We have talked to so many children, and their devastation is above and beyond what even soldiers are able to see in the war,” Dr Hamza said.

“They have seen dismantled human beings that used to be their parents, or their siblings. You get out of a family of five or six or 10 or whatever – you get one survivor, two survivors sometimes. A lot of them have physical impairments. Amputations. Severe injuries. And they’ve made it to the refugee camp somehow.”
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Dr Hamza told ATTN that the emotional and psychological problem does not stop there. The suffering of Syrian children continues as they endure poverty and exploitation of life in a refugee camp.

“You have children who are devastated,” he said, “and this is not the end of it.”

One in five of the millions of Syrians registered as living in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan are under the age of 11. The number of Syrians living outside refugee camps or unregistered in those countries surpasses five million.

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