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How sports programs let Syrian kids be kids

Several sports training centers have opened in Aleppo and Idlib to engage children in sports in an attempt to somewhat normalize their lives.

ALEPPO, Syria — What really pains journalists and photographers who visit Syria are the scenes of children in the camps and on the streets. Instead of going to school, they are selling cigarettes or handkerchiefs as the war rages around them. Many youngsters aged 9-14 have become their families’ breadwinners after losing a parent in the war.

Many of the children in Aleppo and Idlib have been out of school for three years now, without much-needed assistance. According to a 2014 report by UNICEF, around 2 million children are in need of psychological support or treatment, with 5.5 million children affected by the war, some of them stuck inside Syria and others living abroad as refugees.

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