Dania Amroosh wears a Hello Kitty shirt, tiny heart-shaped earrings and her hair in cute little pigtails. She looks like any other 7-year-old, except for the jagged scars on the bridge of her nose and across her chin.
There is much worse beneath her blanket on the third floor of the Kilis State Hospital in southern Turkey. A huge seeping wound on her stomach is closed with an angry grid of stitches. The casts are finally off her broken right leg and right hand, but her fingers are still black and blue and she can barely walk. Her lower body is covered with shrapnel scars.
Five months ago, Dania and her family were sitting in their home in Aleppo, Syria, about 60 miles south of here, when a bomb dropped from the sky. Her grandmother, aunt, uncle and two cousins were killed instantly. Another cousin lost his legs. Dania was mangled.
Mohammad Amroosh, her father, says that, he can't go back to Syria after what happen. When Dania is ready to leave the hospital, the family will stay in Turkey, joining nearly 700,000 other Syrians who have taken shelter in the country.
"This is our home now," he says.
One of the world's largest forced migrations since World War II is transforming the Middle East.
The United Nations and governments in the countries where the refugees have taken shelter estimate that between 2.3 million and 2.8 million Syrians have fled their homeland. The United Nations says that number is rising by nearly 3,000 people a day, with no end in sight for a conflict that has lasted nearly three years.
The cost of the Syrian civil war continues to rise beyond the estimated 125,000 people killed and the tens of thousands maimed. The massive influx of refugees into neighboring countries - especially Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey - is crippling fragile economies and damaging delicate political and religious balances in the region.
"These places will never be the same," said Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, who now spends much or her time in the region as head of the U.N. Development Program. "Many of these people will never go home."
U.N. officials estimate that a third or more of the people living in Lebanon will soon be Syrian refugees - 1.6 million in a country with a prewar population of just 4.4 million people - or, as Clark said, "the equivalent of the entire population of Mexico taking refuge in the U.S."
Competition for homes, jobs and government services has created anger that regularly spills over into protests, even as most people welcome their neighbors in need.
Host countries are spending billions building schools, hospitals, water and sewage systems, power plants, roads and housing to cope with the population surge.
Refugee camps increasingly look like permanent cities, with local governments, schools, hospitals, mosques, supermarkets and Internet cafes.
A new generation is rising in the camps with the births of thousands of children. Arabic-speaking Syrian children are learning Turkish in school to prepare for a life in exile.
To be continued
Source: Washington post News paper