Creating safe spaces for young Syrians

"I want to go back to Syria to join ISIS." These were the words of 17-year-old Abdul* when we first met him in Lebanon.

Abdul fled to Lebanon from his war-torn home of Syria, just across the border, and was finding it difficult to adjust to his new life. He felt angry and isolated, and wanted to do something about what was going on in his home country.

It is feelings like these that make children and young people like Abdul so vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremist groups in Syria, and is posing a growing challenge to peace in the region. International Alert is helping to counter this.

Together with our partners on the ground, we are providing children and young people in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey with safe spaces where they can feel physically and emotionally safe. Here, they can receive trauma counselling, take part in peace education activities, and share their fears and concerns with people they can trust.

"Without your guidance and what you tell us, I would have joined ISIS," Abdul said. Now, like so many other children and young people we are supporting, he is looking ahead to a more peaceful, brighter future.

We hope to reach 7,000 young Syrians like Abdul, helping them to cope with the ordeals they are facing, reducing their vulnerability to recruitment by extremist groups and enabling them to promote peace in their own communities.

Help us achieve this. Support our work today.

Want to find out more about what we do? Visit our Syria webpage here.

*This name has been changed to protect his identity.

Photo: © Nadim Kamel/International Alert