Syrian children in focus at Sarajevo museum on war and childhood

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A notebook is seen at the War Childhood Museum before an exhibition in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 25, 2019. "I used this notebook for maths. I liked our teacher because she respected us as students and played with us during breaks. (Reuters)
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Prayer beads are seen at the War Childhood Museum before an exhibition in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 25, 2019. "My father had to go to Lebanon for work, while I stayed with my family in Syria. (Reuters)
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A teddy bear is seen at the War Childhood Museum before an exhibition in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 25, 2019. "I got this teddy bear from my girlfriend Amira! Then the war came to our region. Amira moved to Damascus, and we lost contact. (Reuters)
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A flower is seen at the War Childhood Museum before an exhibition in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 25, 2019. "This flower reminds me of my garden. From time to time, I used to take the flower out of my drawer, I closed my eyes and smelled it. (Reuters)
Updated 27 January 2019

Syrian children in focus at Sarajevo museum on war and childhood

  • Sunday’s exhibition relied on items donated by children in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon
  • UNICEF says there are 2.5 million Syrian refugee children living outside Syria and 2.6 million internally displaced

SARAJEVO: Toys, house keys and diaries hang suspended from the ceiling or sit on plain white pedestals at Sarajevo’s War Childhood Museum in a simple tribute to the children living in the shadow of the war in Syria.
Driven by memories of his own childhood during the Balkans conflict in the 1990s, founder Jasminko Halilovic has made the museum a treasure trove of personal items donated by those who were children then too.
He now wants to turn it into the world’s biggest archive on wartime childhoods. Sunday’s exhibition relied on items donated by children in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon. A colorful keychain in the shape of sandal was given to the museum by 15-year-old Marwa.
“The keys opened the doors to the most beautiful house I have ever seen. My room had pink and green walls. Unfortunately, the house burned during the war, so we don’t have the house anymore,” she wrote.
According to UNICEF, there are 2.5 million Syrian refugee children living outside Syria and 2.6 million internally displaced.
“We want to show that war children are not only the passive victims, as we often see them, but also resilient survivors,” Halilovic said. Having amassed more than 4,000 exhibits and over 150 hours of a video archive of oral history interviews, his team started collecting personal items from children affected by other wars, such as Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan.
The Syrian collection was assembled with the help of Abed Moubayed, 35, from Aleppo, during his two-month internship with the museum, part of his master degree program in post-war recovery at the University of York.
“This is a chance for the Syrian children to raise their voices and tell the whole world about their experience and suffering. It is really important to show that history is repeating itself and we, all of us, need to do something to stop it,” Moubayed, who left Syria in 2012, told Reuters.
“Syrian children have no idea what the future holds for them and you can see it from their stories.”
The Bosnian 1992-95 war, which claimed 100,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people, was Europe’s bloodiest since World War Two.


Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

Updated 10 min 3 sec ago

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

  • Syrian regime also attacked Turkish military posts in violation of cease-fire deal

LONDON: Syrian regime forces deliberately killed elderly women in the northwestern region of Idlib, leaked recordings obtained by the UK’s Daily Telegraph have shown.

The audio recordings from Feb. 11 also suggest that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked Turkish military posts in violation of a cease-fire deal.

The recordings captured a conversation between soldiers from the infamous elite Tiger Forces, the 25th Division, tracking a vehicle driving into the village of Mizanaz, to the west of Aleppo.

In the audio, intercepted by spotters at an observatory in the local area who picked up the soldiers’ frequency, one soldier can be heard saying: “There are women driving, their car is stuck in the mud and they’re headed to a battlefield.”

 

 

A second soldier said: “She looks elderly. It’s clear she’s coming to pack her belongings, then she’s leaving.”

Despite a clear identification of the women, one of the soldiers is heard saying: “I’m watching them. They’re about to enter a house. Yallah, I’m firing now.”

At that point, rapid machine gun fire can be heard on the tape. “Fire, fire, I’m observing for you,” the second soldier replies.

Local media reports from the time and date of the audio recording support the assertion that the women were killed in the attack.

Regime forces have used attacks on civilians as part of their strategy to clear rebel-held areas of the country, while attacking civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. 

In September 2019, pro-Assad militants reportedly executed an elderly woman who refused to leave her home when it was confiscated after they recaptured the town of Khan Sheikhoun. 

According to figures from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, regime forces and their Russian allies are responsible for 90 percent of civilian deaths in the nine-year conflict, with three-quarters of those people victims of artillery or aerial shelling. The deliberate killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.

The Telegraph’s report also revealed recordings showing regime forces actively attacking Turkish posts in Idlib province that were set up as part of a de-escalation deal negotiated with Russia in 2018.

The attacks prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “restrain” Assad’s advance in Idlib.