I was in Grade 8 when I was forced to leave school, after fighting started in my village in eastern rural Aleppo.
Renewed fighting in the southern Syrian governorate of Dar'a forced children and their families out of their homes and into the wilderness. After six years of war in Syria, it has become commonplace for families living through cycles of intense violence and relative calm to seek shelter in agricultural fields until it is safe to return home.
For children and their families across Syria, winter used to bring joy. But after six years of conflict, childhood memories of getting cozy around the heater, playing in the snow and warm winter clothes are all but forgotten.
In a flagrant violation of the agreed-upon ceasefire, the Syrian government launched a heavy offensive on rebel-held Wadi Barada valley in the final days of December. Residents have been deprived of running water and electricity and are being bombarded by hundreds of missiles and barrel bombs.
Much of Aleppo has vanished, but can still be found in these photos.
The carnage in Aleppo continues.
"We don’t need sympathy, we need help in this crisis."
Welcoming refugees into our communities implies a responsibility to provide a safe environment for rehabilitation and integration. Yet this weekend thousands of our neighbours will be exposed to trauma in a spectacle many of us would do away with in the first place. The air show is nothing like a charity bike ride. In a city with a large population of refugee newcomers and people who have experienced the trauma of war it is insulting, invasive, and violent.
In Fahad Tabuck's face, I see a combination of exhaustion, frustration and despair that seems permanently etched into his expression. The 38-year old Syrian refugee looks at least a decade older, having spent the past two years fleeing from his home in Syria with his wife and five children.
Azraq Refugee Camp is seen as a model for all future refugee camps. It has schools, a hospital, playgrounds, soccer fields, community centres and even a supermarket. But for the few hundred families already settling in, and for the 100,000 Syrian refugees who will live here when the camp is completed, it's not, and will never be, home.