East Ghouta, Syria – Residents of East Ghouta, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, have witnessed terrible conditions for more than a year, with clashes and shelling from Syrian government forces causing widespread death, destruction and hardship. Rebel fighters are also blamed for violent human rights abuses in other parts of the country.
The war’s effect on children has been especially serious. Many young Syrians in East Ghouta lack the most basic necessities and live in constant fear from the shelling. Some have become homeless, while others have dropped out of school. Many have been forced to search for anything to eat or sell, desperately trying to find firewood for heating and cooking – making them working adults before their time.
Nevertheless, many of their faces still beam with the hope and innocence of childhood.