Ibrahim Mossa (2nd L) smiles while sitting with his siblings and cousins in an unfinished house in the Jaramana suburb of Damascus, Syria, on May 28, 2019. For Hussain Mossa, whose childhood was peaceful and worth remembering, his son Ibrahim is not so lucky as him. Hussain's older son, Ibrahim, was born in 2011 when the Syrian crisis began. In Syria, those who were born during the war were regarded as "Generation of War." They were unable to have a normal or healthy childhood like many of their parents did. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)
by Hummam Sheikh Ali
DAMASCUS, May 29 (Xinhua) -- For Hussain Mossa, whose childhood was peaceful and worth remembering, his son Ibrahim is not so lucky as him.
Hussain was born in 1986 in the city of Manbij in the countryside of Aleppo. When speaking about his childhood, his eyes shine with nostalgia and relief.
However, the once peaceful city has turned into home for various rebel groups. Its control has been shifted from the hands of the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army to the Islamic State (IS) and finally to the U.S.-allied Kurdish forces.
Hussain's older son, Ibrahim, was born in 2011 when the Syrian crisis began.
In Syria, those who were born during the war were regarded as "Generation of War." They were unable to have a normal or healthy childhood like many of their parents did.
After years of living under the control of various rebel groups, including the most dangerous IS, Hussain, his wife and six children managed to flee Manbij when the Kurdish forces captured the city from the IS in 2014.
His family now live with his brother's family in an unfinished house in the Jaramana suburb of the capital Damascus.
Twenty-three people live in the three rooms of this house, whose walls are left unpainted because there are barely any cement walls.
The residents, however, hung curtains and sheets on the walls to cover its cold grey color.
Despite the harsh reality, this house, which is obviously under construction, has been a safe haven and a point of departure where the family can get their lives back on track, after what they had seen and experienced in the war.
Hussain says his children, including Ibrahim, have suffered a lot, as all they have seen is killing and shelling, instead of cartoons on TV.
"My son's childhood was pure suffering with no schools or anything ... He saw all the ugly side of the war, the killing, weapons and shelling so his life was extremely affected," the father said.
Hussain recalled his childhood and how peaceful it was compared with his children's.
"My childhood was different because the situation was different. It was peaceful and the times back then were good. I used to swim in the river, play football, herd the sheep and work in the farms. It was much better than my children's," he recalled.
He told Xinhua that all he hopes is to let his children have a normal life.
"God willing the better days could come soon. I am helping my elder son get education here in Damascus. I hope him and his siblings could forget all that we have been through," he said.
Living in the house, the children have barely any chance of going out and having outdoors activities.
"If he (Ibrahim) wants to play, the neighbors would be annoyed and if he goes out to the street, I will be afraid that he might be hit by a car or even get kidnapped," he said.
Hussain sadly acknowledged that his son has been deprived of many things.
"Most of the time, he stays indoors. I lock the door and my children play inside. But when there is an occasion, I take them out to the garden or some other places," he said.
Young as he is, Ibrahim has a clear understanding of war.
"The war is not beautiful because there are killings and sound of bullets, which is not pretty," the boy told Xinhua.
Now, the kid enjoys having friends in school and loves Damascus.
"Here is more beautiful than Manbij, because I have friends while back there I didn't have any. Here I have a school but in Manbij there was not," he said.
Despite his tough childhood, Ibrahim grins every time he looks to the camera and enjoys climbing a small cushion to reach a broken mirror on the wall to see his face and comb his hair. A smile radiates on his father's weary face behind him.