Syrian refugee children in Iraqi Kurdistan: Hard conditions, ambiguous future



ARA News

Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan− Thousands of Syrian Kurdish families who escaped the ongoing armed conflict in Syria found in Iraqi Kurdistan a safe haven. Beside safety, they might also be able to improve their living conditions somehow. However, the biggest impact might be on the children of these families, as they were forced to drop out of school and perform different kinds of works in order to overcome the harsh conditions their families have to endure. 

Khalid, a 14 years old boy from Tirbespiye city in northeastern Syria, left school one year ago to emigrate with his family to Iraqi Kurdistan. He works now in shining shoes in a crowded street in Duhok city.

Khalid told ARA News that he lives with his family in Domiz Camp for Syrian refugees and that he comes to the city with his father who works in a nearby shop.

“It was very difficult for me at the beginning, as it was the first time that I had to live away from my friends, my school and the neighbourhood where I grew up. But day by day I have adapted to the situation and have got to make new friends,” Khalid said. 

Bengin, 15, comes from Qamishli city and works in selling mobile phones’ credit cards in the streets of Duhok city.

Bengin was devoted to school, but due to his family’s difficult economic conditions, he had to quit school to emigrate with his family to the Kurdistan Region. 

“Since 4 months, I work in selling mobile phones’ credit cards and sometimes my feet hurt due to walking around all day long,” Bengin expressed his exhaustion to ARA News.

Bengin’s family, which consists of 8 members, has rented a small house in Duhok city for $459 a month. But as the father works in construction, the family is still able to pay the rent. 

Not away from Bengin, his 12 years old sister, Midia, has a small scale for passers-by to weigh. She get $0.20 per person. 

Answering whether she is happy or not, Midia said: “Sometimes I feel bored, but the presence of other Syrian children around comforts me and I feel safe because Bengin is always staying close to me.” 

In the suburb of Duhok city, the closest province in Iraqi Kurdistan to the borders with Syria, Domiz Camp for Syrian refugees is located. According to official statistics, more than 150 thousand refugees −mainly Syrian Kurds− live in Domiz Camp, while other statistics talk about 300 thousand refugees. 


Reporting by: Ehmed Herbi

Source: ARA News


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