Displaced Children in Northwest Syria Hold Their Very Own Olympics

Thousands of miles from the Olympics in Tokyo, Syrian children displaced by war held their own competitions.

Hurling a javelin, leaping over hurdles, and sprinting beyond rows of tents to win gold, displaced children in northwestern Syria stage their very own Olympics.

As Tokyo 2020 wraps up, around 120 displaced Syrian boys and girls from 12 different camps hold their own version of the “Tent Olympics” in Syria. Thye met in al-Yaman camp, near Idlib city.

The event aimed to give the children some hope, but also draw the attention of the international community to their plight.

Each wearing the color of their camp, it was their turn to be the star athletes on a running track and soccer pitch etched in the red earth.

The eight to 14-year-olds competed in a host of disciplines.

“I participated in the Olympics today, in the gymnastics competition. I hope to develop my skills and become a gymnastics professional.” Haider Jumaa, an 11-year-old boy told Middle East Eye.

Nearly three million people, two-thirds of whom are internally displaced people from across Syria, live in the Idlib region, which is controlled by the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham alliance of Islamist militant groups.

“It’s sad to see young Syrians taking part as refugees,” Sarmini said.

Syria’s war has killed around 500,000 people since starting in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests and displaced millions in and outside the country.

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