A new report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has further exposed the devastating impact of the country’s war on young Syrians.
The ICRC report surveyed 1,400 Syrians aged 18 to 25 whose “adolescence and early adulthood have been deeply marked by the conflict.”
Syria’s war broke out in early 2011 following anti-government demonstrations that were brutally suppressed by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. The ensuing decade-long war has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions, with Russia and Iran enabling Assad to regain power over most of the country.
The report covers the experiences of young Syrians both within the country and those in displacement. Of those surveyed, 800 live in Syria, 400 in Lebanon, and 200 in Germany. Crucial issues, including displacement and social connection, economic security, access to education, health, and mental health, are covered in its findings.
In all groups surveyed, eight out of ten reported enduring periods of “no or very limited access to basic necessities.”
The interviews with young Syrians also illustrated the long-term implications of the crippling economic insecurity they face. Ahmad, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon, recalls having more money aged ten than he does now, aged 24.
Over half of those interviewed had to abandon their education, often a sacrifice made by households struggling to meet their basic needs.
At the same time, the report highlights unfortunate discrepancies in the experiences of displaced Syrians. While three-quarters of young Syrians in Lebanon had been educated up to the primary level, 90 percent of those in Germany have reached the secondary level or higher.
Similarly, it offers troubling insight into the depth of emotional and mental trauma experienced by young Syrians.
Within Syria, nearly half of those surveyed had lost a member of their immediate family or a close friend in the war. Among those living in Germany or Lebanon, one in five has had one or both of their parents killed or seriously injured during the conflict.
Two out of three young Syrians have experienced anxiety in the past year, and over half have struggled with depression and sleeping disorders. Very few have been able to receive medical treatment.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.