More than 300 children in rebel-held northwest Syria kicked off their own football World Cup on Saturday, with organisers hoping to shine a light …
More than 300 children in rebel-held northwest Syria kicked off their own football World Cup on Saturday, with organisers hoping to shine a light on communities battered by 11 years of war.
“I represent Spain and I hope we win the cup,” Bassel Sheikho, 12, said, who works in a garage.
While children from camps for displaced people in Idlib and surrounding areas make up 25 of the teams, the other seven are filled with children who work in industrial zones in the region.
Syria’s war has killed around half a million people and displaced millions more since 2011. The Idlib region is home to about three million people, around half of them displaced.
Children aged 10 to 14 have been training for months to take part in the “Camps World Cup”, Ibrahim Sarmini from the NGO Violet said.
He said the event aims to encourage children to participate in sports and to “focus international attention on displaced youth and those who work”.
The “Camps World Cup” matches will continue throughout the official tournament period, and the final will be held in a camp in Idlib.
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