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Syria, 8 Years On

12 March 2019, Emergencies

For three million Syrian children, the war had already started when they were born and they do not know what it is like to live in peace.

War has had a devastating impact on the lives of all children in Syria. Many have seen their neighbourhoods destroyed. They’ve been there when their family and friends were injured or killed. War has driven families from their homes – and separated parents and their children.

With your support, Save the Children is working on the ground to provide emergency food, healthcare and education. We enable children to go back to school, and run child-friendly spaces where they can play, learn and feel safe. 

The longest heartbreak - Rasha’s story

It is a day Rasha* will never forget.

She returned from her brother’s funeral to find her husband and her two young sons – Yousef* and Mohammed* – gone.

“Their toys were on the floor. Their father had taken them away.”

In the weeks before, Rasha’s violent and abusive husband had been demanding the family leave their home in Aleppo, Syria and travel into ISIS territory, but Rasha had refused. She never suspected he would go without her and take her children.

With war waging across Syria, Rasha heard nothing from Yousef or Mohammed. “I thought about them all the time. Every time I heard a child cry out for his mother, my heart wept.” Rasha didn’t know where her sons were or even if they were alive. “I always believed I would see them again.”

What's the longest you've been apart from your children?

Five years after they were taken, Save the Children contacted Rasha, having traced her using Social Media. Yousef, 11, and Mohammed, 9, were in a refugee camp. Their father was dead, and – because they had no parents – Save the Children was looking after them.

After checks had been carried out, Rasha was able to talk to her sons on the phone. “I asked Mohammed, ‘Do you remember who I am?’ and he replied, ‘Yes, you are my mother and I remember you’.”

Rasha then made the ten-hour journey to the camp. “It felt like a month,” she says. Rasha told her sons to be patient – she was on her way. Then came the moment when they were reunited.

“When I finally saw them, I hugged them both and started crying again. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t believe they were next to me!”


Rasha, Mohammed and Yousef have now returned to Aleppo. They are a family again, and Rasha hopes to send her sons back to school.

It’s thanks to our generous supporters that we were able to give Rasha’s story a happy ending – reuniting her with her sons after five long years of worry. 

Syria, 8 years on

Almost eight years into the crisis in Syria, half of children have grown up knowing nothing but conflict.

Together with our partners Save the Children works in four Governorates in northern Syria – Aleppo, Hama, al-Hassakeh and Idlib – and have reached more than 750,000 people, including over half a million children, through our programmes.

We help to reconstruct schools and provide education, support primary healthcare facilities and provide essential aid items such as food, clothing, kitchen sets, winter kits and hygiene kits to displaced families. 

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood