It was a rare moment of normality in a violent world as 200 Syrian children returned to school in the rebel held village of Madaya in Idlib province. Their school was closed more than a year ago as fighting in the region intensified. The kids say that going to school was simply too dangerous as shells exploded all around them.
The conflict has brought other hardships. Books, pens and paper are difficult to come by in the war-shattered country. Ahmed al Fikiri, is a fighter in the Free Syrian Army and father of 12-year-old Abdo said: “We have nothing to give our children. When we need to buy a pen or find books and other supplies it is difficult, there is nothing in the shops.”
Abdo may be happy to be back at school, but behind the smiling eyes it seems clear he is traumatised. When asked what he thinks about at night he keeps his counsel. He is one of the lucky ones, many of his friends and family are dead. His silence speaks a thousand words.