Syria: Learning to cope
Syria is suffering the effects of the civil war. Forty percent of the nation's infrastructure has been destroyed. Four million people have been bombed out of their homes. Everyday life is becoming increasingly difficult in the worst-hit regions. Impressions from Andreas Stahl
Syria's civil war has been raging since March 2011. It's thought that almost 70,000 people have so far been killed in the armed conflict. The city of Aleppo has been especially hard hit in the clashes between rebels and government troops. Blood-splattered walls serve as a stark reminder of the previous day's fight in a school room on the outskirts of Aleppo.
The Killing goes on: Mohammed, 27, takes aim at regime forces. Only a day before, he was shot in the foot by a sniper, but that hasn't stopped him from taking up the same position from which he was hit.
Doctors operate on an injured rebel fighter in an improvised hospital. At present, medics here carry out 18 such operations on average every day. Their own lives are at risk should they be discovered by hostile groups.
A People's Defence Units (YPG) soldier during a ceasefire between the Islamic group Jabat al Nusra and the Kurdish YPG army. The Kurds are also caught up in the civil war in Syria. They claim that they do not take any side in the war and are fighting for a future Syria with equal rights for the Kurdish population, both against the Syrian Army and the Free Syrian Army.
Almost three million houses have been destroyed in the Syrian civil war, and an increasing number of people are being made homeless. A four-year-old girl's doll found in her destroyed room after a regime air strike that hit her house a few weeks ago.
700,000 Syrians have now left their homeland and fled to neighbouring states. Refugees no longer accepted by Turkey find themselves stranded here at the Atmeh camp. Nestled in olive groves stretching to the Turkish border, this camp is home to 15,000 displaced Syrians. Over 5,000 of these are children who are putting a brave face on a desperate situation.
Safa often stays at the camp all day – people want to confide in her and share their traumatic experiences. Safa, who works as an art therapist, provides colors and paper which she purchases with her own savings each time she visits the children in the camp in Atmeh. Drawing sessions can sometimes go on all day as a never-ending queue waits for some creative release.
Nine-year-old Abdullah and his family have been living at the camp for a while now. He originates from the city of Hama – but his house was bombed by troops loyal to the regime. Many of the children here are showing signs of trauma such as panic attacks and insomnia.
But when the children draw or paint, the images they create are not all negative. Some of them also remember a time before the war broke out, when Syria was at peace. Young girls draw images of their destroyed homes, while others depict beautiful scenes from their lives before the revolution.