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AP PHOTOS: Syrian refugee children lose education

AP PHOTOS: For many Syrian refugee kids, a lost childhood without education

In Friday, April 4, 2014 photo, Syrian refugee Ahmed Mahmoud, 12,  stands as other children play nearby his family's makeshift tent in an unofficial S...
In Thursday April 17, 2014 photo, Mohammed Mosailem, 4, poses for a portrait at Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria, in Mafraq, Jordan. T...
In this Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, sisters Riham, 9, and Maryam Khudair, 6, pose for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outski...
In Thursday, April 17, 2014, Syrian refugee Moath Kabesh 13, poses with his soccer ball at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jor...
In this Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Fatma Daher, 8, poses for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. Th...
In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Said Ali, 7, holds a kite in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. Saturday, April 5,...
In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Sawsan Abdo, 9, holds a balloon in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. More than 2....
In Thursday April 17, 2014, Syrian refugee, Ahmed Khalaf ,11, poses for a portrait at Zaatari refugee camp near the border with Syria in Mafraq, Jorda...
In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Dalal Hussain, 10, poses for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. More...
In Thursday April 17, 2014 photo, Nadi Mosailem, 8, poses for a portrait at Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria in Mafraq, Jordan. The U....
In Saturday, April 5, 2014, Sajeda Abdel Sattar, 7, holds a balloon in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. (AP Photo/...
In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, brothers Muhammed Awad,12, and Ali Awad, 5, pose for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirt...
In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Muhammed Jamal, 5, holds a balloon as he poses for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts ...
In Thursday April 17, 2014 photo, a group of Syrian refugee children pose for a portrait at Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria in Mafraq...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Friday, April 4, 2014 photo, Syrian refugee Ahmed Mahmoud, 12, stands as other children play nearby his family's makeshift tent in an unofficial S...

APTOPIX Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Thursday April 17, 2014 photo, Mohammed Mosailem, 4, poses for a portrait at Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria, in Mafraq, Jordan. T...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In this Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, sisters Riham, 9, and Maryam Khudair, 6, pose for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outski...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Thursday, April 17, 2014, Syrian refugee Moath Kabesh 13, poses with his soccer ball at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jor...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In this Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Fatma Daher, 8, poses for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. Th...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Said Ali, 7, holds a kite in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. Saturday, April 5,...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Sawsan Abdo, 9, holds a balloon in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. More than 2....

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Thursday April 17, 2014, Syrian refugee, Ahmed Khalaf ,11, poses for a portrait at Zaatari refugee camp near the border with Syria in Mafraq, Jorda...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Dalal Hussain, 10, poses for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. More...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Thursday April 17, 2014 photo, Nadi Mosailem, 8, poses for a portrait at Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria in Mafraq, Jordan. The U....

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Saturday, April 5, 2014, Sajeda Abdel Sattar, 7, holds a balloon in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan. (AP Photo/...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, brothers Muhammed Awad,12, and Ali Awad, 5, pose for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirt...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Saturday, April 5, 2014 photo, Muhammed Jamal, 5, holds a balloon as he poses for a portrait in an unofficial Syrian refugee camp on the outskirts ...

Mideast Jordan Refugee Children Photo Essay

In Thursday April 17, 2014 photo, a group of Syrian refugee children pose for a portrait at Zaatari refugee camp, near the border with Syria in Mafraq...

ZAATARI, Jordan (AP) -- For 12-year-old Ahmed Mahmoud, school is a distant memory. Already, the Syrian refugee boy insists he is no longer a child.

Ahmed helps his father sell vegetables in a wholesale market near their makeshift refugee camp just outside Jordan's capital, Amman, where he has lived for the past year. On a recent day, he watched other kids play buy refused to join. Instead, he supervised them, scolding them if they argue or get out of line.

"These are children. I am a man. I am too old to be playing with them," Ahmed said, wearing a wristband with the colors of the Syrian flag. He fiddled with a kite other children left behind, raising it in the air but then going and picking up his toddler brother who tried to join the children's games.

More than 2.8 million Syrian children inside and outside the country -- nearly half the school-aged population -- cannot get an education because of the devastation from the civil war, according to the U.N. children's agency, UNICEF.

They include a half-million children from among the wave of Syrian refugees that has flooded neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and other countries in the region.

In Jordan, some 93,000 Syrian children are out of school, according to UNICEF -- most, like Ahmed, because they have missed too much school already and are ineligible.

Aid agencies have set up schools in Jordan's main official refugee camp, Zaatari. But Ahmed's family left the camp more than a year ago because of overcrowding and lack of security and moved into a small informal camp of about 300 families farther south, just outside of Amman -- where there are no schools.

The conflict in Syria, now in its fourth year, has etched itself deeply into Ahmed's childhood. He can vividly recount the devastation he saw in his home city, Hama, before his family fled.

"I want to go back to Hama to fight with the Free Syrian Army and liberate my country," he said.

Here is a selection of photos of Ahmed and other refugee children by Associated Press photographer Khalil Hamra.

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Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo .


Updated : 2021-08-04 14:20 GMT+08:00