As bombs rain down on the city, the helpless father came up with a heart-wrenching game to protect his daughter from the psychological scars left on countless Syrian children.
There are no lengths to which a parent won't go when their child's safety and wellbeing come into question. No matter what the circumstances, protecting their young ones at any cost is a parent's top priority at all times and a heartbreaking video making the rounds on social media shows just this. The jarring video features a Syrian father and his 4-year-old daughter in the war-ravaged province of Idlib where a Russian-backed regime offensive has set off a humanitarian catastrophe. As bombs rain down in the city, the helpless father came up with a heart-wrenching game to protect his daughter from the psychological scars left on countless Syrian children.
According to SBS News, Abdullah Mohammad and his family were forced to flee their Saraqib home in the eastern countryside of Idlib amid the government's ruthless attempts to recapture the opposition-held province. With the civil war threatening their livelihood they took refuge at a friend's home in the town of Sarmada despite having to live in the nightmarish reality of constant explosions and danger. In an attempt to protect his daughter Salwa from the psychological effects of growing up in a war zone, Mohammad introduced her to a heartbreaking laughing game to drown out the sounds of bombs as it exploded around them.
Mohammad has young Salwa convinced that the disturbing noise of explosions is simply part of a game. Now, every time a bomb falls in their province, the duo laughs out loud. Explaining why he came up with the game, Mohammad said, "I decided to teach Salwa this game to prevent her psychological state from collapsing. So as to not be affected by diseases relating to fear. She is a child who does not understand war."
Social media denizens were deeply moved by this heartbreaking video. Selar Othman noted: Parents understand why this father is doing so. You may think he is really happy while his home country is shelled. No, he is not. This can be seen in his eyes. But he just wants his daughter to be happy and laugh at the sound of shelling. A 4-year-old child doesn't understand what is shelling and what is going on!! Let her laugh. Maggie Diamond added: So sad that thousands are currently suffering from this appalling situation but wonderful that this father is trying to protect his child to the best of his ability in this manner. God bless the people in Idlib. Hopefully, the governments of the world can intervene to bring an end to this dire tragedy.
Beyond tragic. A Syrian father and a daughter traumatized by war. Helping her overcome her fear, he asks her to Laugh each time a fighter jet or rocket flies over the area. Look at the innocence but at the same think about what may happen next. #Syria#Idlib pic.twitter.com/zjzlnNAP9n— Hashem Ahelbarra هاشم أهل برا (@hashemahel) February 18, 2020
As the Syrian crisis enters its tenth year next month, worldwide concern grows for the millions of children in the nation who have never known peace. According to abc.net.au, countless young Syrians have been injured and born witness to the deaths of their family members and friends for pretty much their entire lives. With their homes blown up, they run for shelter as bombs rain down on them and battle illness from malnutrition and disease. "It's the country's children who have suffered the most and have the most to lose," said UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore.
As always, the ONLY casualties of the #Syrianconflict are innocent mothers, fathers, children, babies & elderly. The trauma & mental wounds of this brutal war will ache millions of innocent people for the many years to come.#Syria #Idlib #withrefugees https://t.co/Md21l9NzGW— Tara Kangarlou (@tarakangarlou) February 17, 2020
While the psychological impact of living in such a war zone can be deep and lifelong, experts say parents may be able to reduce these effects. Syrian psychiatrist Mohammad Abo-Hilal revealed that the side effects of growing up in such conditions include intense fear, attachment issues, bed wetting, reluctance to play, learning difficulties, behavioral and emotional problems, and a lack of self-worth. "They experience loss and separation, and lose family cohesion and the life of the community that provides them with protection and safety," he said.
The conflict in Syria has been the source of much psychological trauma for children. pic.twitter.com/I1tMTNAbjE— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 12, 2017
Meanwhile, neuroscientist and child psychologist Stacy Drury stated that trauma in early childhood can inhibit brain development. It can also impact their cognitive function, crisis response systems, learning ability, aging processes, and immune systems for the rest of their lives. The impact is greater in younger children with those under the age of three facing the greatest risk. "The body systems that are most rapidly developing when the experiences happen are the ones that are going to be most impacted. For little kids, all of their systems are coming online and developing, so there is a much greater risk of impact across all of their systems," said Dury.
Syria’s children are living a nightmare and growing up knowing nothing but war. We must act now to #SaveSyriasChildren before the psychological trauma impacts a generation. https://t.co/cYLFyM6AfR pic.twitter.com/EshMuz4XTJ— SCUS Board Chair (@SCUSBoardChair) March 3, 2018
Earlier this week, the United Nations revealed that the government offensive in northwest Syria has displaced 900,000 people since the start of December. "The crisis in northwest Syria has reached a horrifying new level," said Mark Lowcock, the UN head of humanitarian affairs and emergency relief. Lowcock stated that the displaced were overwhelmingly women and children who are "traumatized and forced to sleep outside in freezing temperatures because camps are full. Mothers burn plastic to keep children warm. Babies and small children are dying because of the cold."
"The trajectory we're on is of the world's biggest humanitarian horror story of the 21st century."@UNReliefChief tells @BeckyCNN the world is going to regret turning a 'blind eye' to the humanitarian crisis unfolding *right now* in #Idlib. pic.twitter.com/Qo3G5j9A6W— Connect the World (@CNNConnect) February 17, 2020
"Health facilities, schools, residential areas, mosques, and markets have been hit. Schools are suspended, many health facilities have closed. There is a serious risk of disease outbreaks. Basic infrastructure is falling apart. We are now receiving reports that settlements for displaced people are being hit, resulting in deaths, injuries and further displacement. The equipment and facilities being used by aid workers are being damaged. Humanitarian workers themselves are being displaced and killed," he said in a statement.