Middle East

Syrian children earn living by working in garbage dumps

School-age children among biggest victims of Syrian civil war

Esref Musa and Burak Karacaoglu   | 19.11.2019
Syrian children earn living by working in garbage dumps

IDLIB, Syria

Forced migration stemming from the ongoing civil war, lack of educational opportunities and financial problems force school-age Syrian children to work at an early age to contribute to their family budget.

Hundreds of thousands of families are forced to migrate because of the massive bombardment of their areas by the Bashar al-Assad regime, backed by Iran and Russia.

The death of family members, who are responsible for earning a livelihood, compel Syrian children to drop out of school and work in unhealthy jobs.

In Idlib's town of Sinjar, captured by regime forces with Russian air support, children are trying to provide financial support to their families by working in garbage dumps.

Muhammed Asmar, who normally should have been in 6th grade, said he had left school to help his family and has been working in dumps for 2.5 years.

"I don't like this job at all. I want to learn. There are schools up to 4th grade in our region. Other schools are far from where we live, there is no vehicle to reach there,” Asmar said.

Asmar, who collects nylon bags, plastics, copper and aluminum pieces from the garbage dump, earns 700-1000 Syrian pounds ($1.6-$2.3) a day.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018. Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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