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Portraits of Young Lives, Interrupted by War


Children wait with other migrants and refugees to enter the refugee camp after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija, on December 2, 2015. Since last week, Macedonia has restricted passage to northern Europe to only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans who are considered war refugees. All other nationalities are deemed economic migrants and told to turn back. Over 1,500 people are stuck on the border, mostly Indian, Moroccan, Bangladeshi and Pakistani. / AFP / ARMEND NIMANI

John Burger - published on 12/03/15 - updated on 06/07/17

Swedish photographer captures tender moments of children forced to leave Syria

Your high school French might be able to get you through this BuzzFeed post, but in any case, the photos are what really tell the story.

Swedish photographer Magnus Wennman visited refugee camps throughout the Middle East and followed refugees as they traveled into Europe, escaping conflict in Syria, Iraq and other countries. About half of the refugees among the more than four million Syrians who have been displaced since 2011 are children. So Wennman decided to put together a  photographic project, “Where the Children Sleep.” He shows them in camps, in parks, in wooded areas, in hospitals and on streets. Some look frightened, others calm. Some are crying, others soundly sleeping.

And he tells their stories in brief vignettes. There’s Walaa, for example, a five-year-old from Syria, now in a refugee camp in Dar-El-Ias, Lebanon. The pretty, blonde, green-eyed girl is afraid to lay her head on the pillow every night, she says, because the nights are when the attacks occurred, back in Aleppo.

There are children here who have lost parents in the four-year Syrian civil war, seen their own siblings killed, kids whose homes had been hit by rockets, who have been on the sea in overcrowded boats, families who have been homeless for a year.

One dreams of becoming an architect. Many have nightmares. Many just dream of  being back home in their own beds.

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