The trauma of growing up in a war-torn country is destined to have a lasting effect on Syria’s children.
The conflict of daily life has already filtered across to their art – heartbreaking drawings show that innocents scribblings have now been replaced with images of firing tanks and blown up buildings.
Since the uprising began in 2011 young people have suffered greatly – around half of all the refugees which have fled Syria are children, the majority under 11.
Pictures tell a thousand words: The heartbreaking children’s drawings of tanks in the war-torn country
But the battle rages on – today Syria criticised Britain’s decision to offer support for rebels amid Russia’s declaration that they will not ask President Assad to step down.
A special envoy to Syria’s president today blasted the British government’s decision to provide non-lethal military equipment to Syrian rebels, saying it will hinder efforts for peace in the strife-torn country.
Buthaina Shaaban, the envoy of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told reporters that it was surprising that Britain was aiding Syrian rebel forces comprising mainly Al-Qaida and other conservative Islamic groups.
‘These are fundamentalist Al-Qaida and conservative Wahabi rebels who want to take Syria back to the dark ages,’ Shaaban said.
She warned that Britain and other Western powers that were supporting Islamic fundamentalist rebels in Syria were themselves vulnerable to attacks from such groups.
‘Britain should not think that terror activities by such groups in Syria, will not one day go back to haunt Europe or Britain,’ she said.
Shaaban said the world had to recognize the sizeable presence of Al-Qaida among the rebel fighters in Syria.
Syria was ready for a dialogue to end the conflict but its efforts had not gained support with Western countries pushing for Assad’s ouster, she said.
Shaaban is in India for talks with Indian leaders to rally support for Assad from the emerging economies of the BRICS grouping that comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
China and Russia, both members of the U.N. Security Council, have blocked efforts by the Western countries to impose sanctions and other measures to pressure Syria.
Shaaban held separate meetings Thursday with India’s external affairs foreign minister, Salman Khurshid, and national security adviser Shivshankar Menon.
Khurshid raised India’s concern about the escalation of violence in Syria, where an estimated 70,000 people have been killed in the last two years, the Ministry of External Affairs said.India says it wants a peaceful resolution of the crisis with the participation of all parties in the conflict.
Devastated: Reconstruction begins in Azaz – a small town in Syria, roughly 20 miles north-northwest of Aleppo
Meanwhile Assad-ally Russian has made clear it will not ask Assad to stand down.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is due to meet UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. next week told the BBC that Russia was not in the ‘regime-change game’.
Both countries say say the Syrian crisis will top the agenda when Mr Lavrov arrives in London.
‘I can only say it is not for us to decide who should lead Syria. It is for the Syrians to decide,’ said Mr Lavrov.
Asked if there was any chance of Russia urging President Assad to stand aside, he said: ‘Absolutely not. You know that we are not in the regime-change game. We are against interference in domestic conflicts.’