April 23 Children's and National Sovereignty Day meant the passage of another bitter year away from home for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugee children sheltering in Turkey. Sabah spoke to children living in the refugee camp in Harran, Şanlıurfa, on the eve of the national holiday that saw millions of Turkish children celebrating.
Ahmed Muhammad said he was aware of the meaning behind the day, saying that children received the attention they deserved. "My biggest ambition is to become a plastic surgeon and return home. It will be I who treats my friends' burn wounds. Turkey helped us when Syria imploded. I am happy to be here. My friends living in camps in Lebanon don't receive high-quality education as I do."
Lubna al-Saadiq said she learned about April 23 when she arrived in Turkey and that she saw it as a celebration not only for Turkish children but also for all. "I really love Turkey because it was the only country that extended a helping hand when we were in need. Turkey is my second home. I will become a painter and express my feelings through painting."
Muhammad nur Fayyad agreed that April 23 was a day of celebration for all children. "We all feel happy today. I will become an engineer and rebuild Syria when I go back home." He said he was being taught Turkish and would be using it to further his education.
Their teacher Hude al-Hidir said she was a visual arts teacher back in Syria. "There were times when my school was right in the middle of the crossfire. When we heard gunfire, children would put their books in their desks and try to go home. We used to teach through cries and screams. However, once the schools were destroyed, we had nowhere to teach. Turkey paid as much attention to education as it did to our security."