Syrian refugee children caught in the crossfire
(CBS News) ANTAKYA, Turkey - There was a report Thursday evening of a massacre of civilians in Syria. A rebel groups said Syrian forces killed at least 100 people in Hama Province. There is no way to verify this yet, but the group has provided accurate information in the past.
For 16 months now, Syria's dictator has waged war on his own people to crush a rebellion. Thousands have died and others have fled the country. We visited some of the youngest refugees across the border in Turkey.
A 2-year-old boy wakes up every morning in his Turkish hospital bed crying for his mother. She is injured and stuck inside Syria.
His family asked us not to show their faces. They told us the boy's stomach was shredded by shrapnel when a shell hit their house.
Dr. Yihia Rahim is a Syrian-American pediatrician from Panama City, Fla. He volunteers at the refugee camps here, and he told us many children have been traumatized.
"'Where is my house, where is my room, where is my toys, where is my freedom, where is my backyard. where is my garden? All of it's gone' So they cannot understand it," said Dr. Rahim.
But those who make it to Turkey are the lucky ones. More than 1,400 children have been killed inside Syria. Many more have been maimed. And a United Nations report says boys as young as 10 have been detained and tortured.
In an apartment near the Turkish border, we met this girl. She told us that she is twelve years old. But when we asked what happened, she couldn't speak. Tears streamed from her eyes.
Her uncle told us her home was hit by a shell, killing her pregnant mother and two siblings. He too was afraid to show his face.
"The children in Syria suffer so much," he said. "Every day they are being killed or injured. "
Dr. Rahim said it was this stark reality that moved him to come to the camps. "I feel I have to do my job too," he said.
As for what lives these children will have, the doctor appeared emotional and then said, "It will be difficult. But I personally feel it to be great, when we have the country back"
And when these children can go home.
Issa Awdat, a freelance journalist based in Turkey, contributed to this report.
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