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In Lebanon, Syrian refu­gee children find safety from war but new dangers on the streets

 

It was 10 p.m. on a chilly recent Wednesday, and the bars of Beirut were just getting into full swing. So was 10-year-old Mohammed Huzaifa’s working day. Clutching a vase of red roses, he scoured the outdoor tables for a soft­hearted target. Spotting two women deep in conversation, the round-faced boy sidled up and broke into a wide smile, but was motioned away with a sharp shake of the head. Mohammed, shivering in an orange T-shirt, repeated the steps with other potential customers until he had sold all 10 of his flowers. A beating from his mother awaits him if he doesn’t sell out, he says, so he often roams the streets until 3 a.m.

 

The United Nations announced that Lebanon registered its millionth Syrian refugee on Thursday, making the tiny country — which had a population of just over 4 million before the Syrian war — home to the highest concentration of refugees in the world. Among the most visible representatives of that influx and the impact of the Syrian war on Lebanon’s capital are children such as Mohammed, who fled the violence and ended up here, selling flowers, tissues, chewing gum or shoeshines on the streets of Beirut. [Link]

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