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Syrian amputee children turn to swimming to help them forget about civil war

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IDLIB, SYRIA - Syrian handicapped kids and youths take part in swimming training at Hutva Education Center in Idlib, Syria on September 07, 2022. ( Muhammed Said - Anadolu Agency )
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Sep 16, 2022 - 03:05 AM

IDLIB, Syria (AA) – Children in Syria’s Idlib province who have had one of their limbs amputated due to attacks by Assad regime and Russian forces have learned to swim to help them forget about the country’s civil war.

With tens of thousands of Syrian children having a limb amputated as a result of air and ground attacks, they clutch onto life with swimming.

Most of the young amputees, who live in harsh conditions in the northern Idlib, don’t receive rehabilitation support.

The Hutva Education Center, which opened for amputee children in Idlib, aims to teach children swimming and offers Turkish, Arabic and English language courses so they can be integrated into society.

The children receive their swimming lessons from Abdulvahed Naker, who was also injured in one of the attacks carried out by the Assad regime four years ago.

“These children are very determined and have high willpower. If these children are abandoned, they will likely become beggars. Now, maybe they will be champion swimmers in the future,” Naker told Anadolu Agency.

He said the society ignores amputee children, but “together, we can change the way society looks at these people.”

Despite being short of equipment and finances, Naker feels successful, as he gives children a new hope for life.

The center also provides swimming training to children with brain atrophy and visually impaired children.

Ahmet As Sebi, 12, whose right arm was amputated due to an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib seven years ago, said: “I’m going to be a doctor to heal people when I grow up. I love playing with my friends. We learned to swim. We all became strong.”

Sebi said he learned Turkish, Arabic and English at school.

Nine-year-old Ibrahim Shahhud, who lost his left arm in an airstrike on his father’s shop in 2016, said he learned Arabic, math and biology at school.

“I’m learning to swim with my friends here. We are both learning and having fun,” he said.

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