Speaking to USA TODAY from Damascus, Salma Hakki, a spokesperson for SOS Children’s Villages Syria, said the civil war that began in 2011 has forced many families to leave Syria to seek a better future for their children.
The charity’s work includes distributing food aid and helping unaccompanied children at child-friendly spaces in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria.
“Damascus is considered to be a safe city to live in, but sometimes there are mortars,” Hakki, a Syrian national, said. "People are so worried — they want to have security.”
Speaking of the refugees heading to Europe, she said: “These people are very desperate to find safe places and live away from war and destruction.”
Hakki said the $5,000 cost to get to Europe was not an easy amount for most Syrians to raise.
“They sell all their property and travel to Turkey, endangering themselves to seek better opportunities,” she said.