Ahmed Subi from Aleppo, Syria’s largest town is only 13 years old, but his childhood ended three years ago. For Syrian refugees child marriage and child labour are often a harsh reality.
“Back in 2010, all was hanging out with friends and attending full day school. My homeland, Syria, was a safe county”, but now all vanishes”, said Ahmed.
But when in 2012, the Battle of Aleppo, fought between forces loyal to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and various rebel groups, began.
That was when Ahmed stopped attending school full-time after his father, Tofi, was killed in a government air strike. Instead, he had to work alongside his brothers in a restaurant in order to help support his family.
Now, he studies for half of the day and works for the rest. It is a life somewhere between childhood and adulthood: filled with the responsibilities of an adult. It’s not only the story of just Ahmed, but it is almost story of every child in Syria.
“I’ve always loved to learn,” said Ahmed, standing on a street in downtown Aleppo. “I want to be an engineer and rebuild the country’s buildings and bring back life to my city that I love,” he says.
The number of Syrian children being forced to work keeps growing as the conflict drags on, with those as young as six reportedly working to shoulder the household responsibilities.
Each night since Barack Obama said he would bomb Isis targets in Syria, residents of Aleppo living in fear waiting for the air strikes to end.The Russian and Isis air-strikes on Syria snatching the childhood of many like Ahmed.
According to reports, Russian air strikes in Syria have killed over 400 civilians since September this year.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the death toll from September 30 – when the strikes were launched – until November 20 stood at 403 civilians, a figure that includes 97 children. At least 100,000 people fled from Aleppo due to Russian air strikes.
After Russia now France has launched a fresh wave of air strikes on Isis targets in Syria in retaliation after the group claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.