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    Posted May 16, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    Syrian refugee children


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Italian photographer RovellaM travelled to the Turkish/Syria border in February this year to document the plight of refugees fleeing Syria's catastrophic civil war. He visited a refugee camp near the town of Azaz just inside Syria and another camp across the border on the Turkish side, and soon found himself moved by the young children who flocked to his side wherever he went. "The children were really curious," he said. "I had two bags full of sweets and I gave one to a 15-year-old guy asking if he could distribute the sweets to the younger children. It was chaos. They almost fought to have them. It was a group of 20 children screaming and agitating their hands to catch the sweets." Both children and adults, despite being in comparative safety, could not avoid witnessing the war around them, he said. "They told me about the war aircraft passing over Azaz, and [in Turkey] in the container camps many people [go] up on their roofs when they hear aircraft to see if they can see them fight." Most poignant was his encounter with little Bashar in the second image, who lost an eye to shrapnel during the fighting. Although initially shy he eventually agreed to be photographed, but when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied it didn't matter, he just wanted his eye back. Read CNN's latest coverage on the war in Syria.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    Syrian refugee camps are full of children. Despite poor living conditions, families continue to give birth both in tent villages and container camps. Children are often smiling towards the camera, almost always showing their fingers shaped like a "V", meaning of victory of course but also of martyr - adults says. In any case they always smile, also who, less fortunate, have lost his eye. Bashar (this's his name) was struck by a splinter coming from a tank shot and after the initial embarrassment he also wants to be photographed. At the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" he answers it doesn't matter, he just wants to have his eye back. Sad stories, but children have this incredible way to tell their stories, with a wonderful smile, like if they wanted to say that nothing and no-one can take away their happines.
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