More Than Trauma

For most children, it is the stuff of nightmares. For many Syrian refugee children, it was real and it lives in their memories.

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The trauma of the Syrian war is so great that a group of doctors describe it as ¡°Human Devastation Syndrome.¡±

Because terms like ¡°Depression¡± and ¡°Post Traumatic Stress Disorder¡± aren¡¯t big enough.

I was 12 when I was arrested with my mom, brothers and sisters by the [Assad] regime.

They kept us in the basement of an old schoolhouse with the army upstairs.

Mahmoud, 17

They made us boys go outside and watch when they executed prisoners.

Then they made us stomp on their bodies to teach us never to defy the [Assad] regime.

When the family was released from the makeshift prison in Syria after a year and a half, authorities told them their arrest had been a mistake.

But the children paid dearly for that ¡®mistake.¡¯

Now, as a refugee in Turkey, Mahmoud still has nightmares.

His 12-year-old sister often stops eating for days at a time.

His 10-year-old brother can¡¯t remember the name of his best friend.

¡®Human Devastation Syndrome¡¯ is a term coined by medical neuropsychologist Mohammad Khalid Hamza of the Syrian American Medical Society in 2016.

It is like PTSD on steroids.

It is devastation¡­ mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, cognitively, neuropsychologically.

The magnitude [of the trauma] and the frequency and the length of time is tremendously much higher, much deeper, much steeper than the PTSD patient.

Humiliation is one of the major factors in Human Devastation Syndrome.

When someone takes pictures with their ... army boots on your head and drinking a cup of tea, that is the ultimate humiliation.

When someone rapes you in front of your children watching that is beyond humiliation.

It¡¯s systematic. It¡¯s vicious.

Ghufran Tuba and her family fled Syria in 2017.

Look at this. She was our sweetheart.

My husband and the kids went outside to get water to clean the house

when a bomb hit our yard in Syria.

He and Naseem were killed.

We don't know who was responsible.

Shrapnel ripped into the children...

...except for Toqa.

The bombing was perhaps the most devastating for her mentally.

She didn¡¯t think she deserved to be spared while her siblings suffered.

Dr. Hamza says humiliating victims in Syria is systematic, designed to crush the human spirit.

He says warring parties on all sides are responsible.

¡°[They] are demolishing the human inside. [They] want him to become a walking shell.¡±
¡ªDr. M. K. Hamza

?

The trauma of the Syrian war is so great that a group of doctors describe it as ¡°Human Devastation Syndrome.¡±

Because terms like ¡°Depression¡± and ¡°Post Traumatic Stress Disorder¡± aren¡¯t big enough.

I was 12 when I was arrested with my mom, brothers and sisters by the [Assad] regime.

They kept us in the basement of an old schoolhouse with the army upstairs.

Mahmoud, 17

They made us boys go outside and watch when they executed prisoners.

Then they made us stomp on their bodies to teach us never to defy the [Assad] regime.

When the family was released from the makeshift prison in Syria after a year and a half, authorities told them their arrest had been a mistake.

But the children paid dearly for that ¡®mistake.¡¯

Now, as a refugee in Turkey, Mahmoud still has nightmares.

His 12-year-old sister often stops eating for days at a time.

His 10-year-old brother can¡¯t remember the name of his best friend.

¡®Human Devastation Syndrome¡¯ is a term coined by medical neuropsychologist Mohammad Khalid Hamza of the Syrian American Medical Society in 2016.

It is like PTSD on steroids.

It is devastation¡­ mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, cognitively, neuropsychologically.

The magnitude [of the trauma] and the frequency and the length of time is tremendously much higher, much deeper, much steeper than the PTSD patient.

Humiliation is one of the major factors in Human Devastation Syndrome.

When someone takes pictures with their ... army boots on your head and drinking a cup of tea, that is the ultimate humiliation.

When someone rapes you in front of your children watching that is beyond humiliation.

It¡¯s systematic. It¡¯s vicious.

Ghufran Tuba and her family fled Syria in 2017.

Look at this. She was our sweetheart.

Naseem, 6

My husband and the kids went outside to get water to clean the house

when a bomb hit our yard in Syria.

He and Naseem were killed.

We don't know who was responsible.

Neighbors carried the surviving children to a hospital.

Shrapnel ripped into the children...

...except for Toqa.

The bombing was perhaps the most devastating for her mentally.

She didn¡¯t think she deserved to be spared while her siblings suffered.

Dr. Hamza says humiliating victims in Syria is systematic, designed to crush the human spirit.

He says warring parties on all sides are responsible.

¡°[They] are demolishing the human inside. [They] want him to become a walking shell.¡±
¡ªDr. M. K. Hamza

?

The trauma of the Syrian war is so great that a group of doctors describe it as ¡°Human Devastation Syndrome.¡±

Because terms like ¡°Depression¡± and ¡°Post Traumatic Stress Disorder¡± aren¡¯t big enough.

I was 12 when I was arrested with my mom, brothers and sisters by the [Assad] regime.

They kept us in the basement of an old schoolhouse with the army upstairs.

Mahmoud, 17

They made us boys go outside and watch when they executed prisoners.

Then they made us stomp on their bodies to teach us never to defy the [Assad] regime.

When the family was released from the makeshift prison in Syria after a year and a half, authorities told them their arrest had been a mistake.

But the children paid dearly for that ¡®mistake.¡¯

His 10-year-old brother can¡¯t remember the name of his best friend.

His 12-year-old sister often stops eating for days at a time.

Now, as a refugee in Turkey, Mahmoud still has nightmares.

¡®Human Devastation Syndrome¡¯ is a term coined by medical neuropsychologist Mohammad Khalid Hamza of the Syrian American Medical Society in 2016.

It is devastation¡­ mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, cognitively, neuropsychologically.

It is like PTSD on steroids.

Dr. Hamza

The magnitude [of the trauma] and the frequency and the length of time is tremendously much higher, much deeper, much steeper than the PTSD patient.

Humiliation is one of the major factors in Human Devastation Syndrome.

When someone takes pictures with their ... army boots on your head and drinking a cup of tea, that is the ultimate humiliation.

When someone rapes you in front of your children watching that is beyond humiliation.

It¡¯s systematic. It¡¯s vicious.

Ghufran Tuba and her family fled Syria in 2017.

Look at this. She was our sweetheart.

Naseem, 6

My husband and the kids went outside to get water to clean the house

when a bomb hit our yard in Syria.

He and Naseem were killed.

We don't know who was responsible.

Neighbors carried the surviving children to a hospital.

Shrapnel ripped into the children...

...except for Toqa.

The bombing was perhaps the most devastating for her mentally.

She didn¡¯t think she deserved to be spared while her siblings suffered.

Dr. Hamza says humiliating victims in Syria is systematic, designed to crush the human spirit.

He says warring parties on all sides are responsible.

¡°[They] are demolishing the human inside. [They] want him to become a walking shell.¡±
¡ªDr. M. K. Hamza

?

MORE THAN TRAUMA

For most children, it is the stuff of nightmares. For many Syrian refugee children, it was real and it lives in their memories.

The trauma of the Syrian war is so great that a group of doctors describe it as ¡°Human Devastation Syndrome.¡±

Because terms like ¡°Depression¡± and ¡°Post Traumatic Stress Disorder¡± aren¡¯t big enough.

They kept us in the basement of an old schoolhouse with the army upstairs.

I was 12 when I was arrested with my mom, brothers and sisters by the [Assad] regime.

Mahmoud, 17

They made us boys go outside and watch when they executed prisoners.

Then they made us stomp on their bodies to teach us never to defy the [Assad] regime.

When the family was released from the makeshift prison in Syria after a year and a half, authorities told them their arrest had been a mistake.

But the children paid dearly for that ¡®mistake.¡¯

Now, as a refugee in Turkey, Mahmoud still has nightmares.

His 12-year-old sister often stops eating for days at a time.

His 10-year-old brother can¡¯t remember the name of his best friend.

¡®Human Devastation Syndrome¡¯ is a term coined by medical neuropsychologist Mohammad Khalid Hamza of the Syrian American Medical Society in 2016.

It is like PTSD on steroids.

It is devastation¡­ mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, cognitively, neuropsychologically.

Dr. Hamza

The magnitude [of the trauma] and the frequency and the length of time is tremendously much higher, much deeper, much steeper than the PTSD patient.

When someone rapes you in front of your children watching that is beyond humiliation.

Humiliation is one of the major factors in Human Devastation Syndrome.

When someone takes pictures with their ... army boots on your head and drinking a cup of tea, that is the ultimate humiliation.

It¡¯s systematic. It¡¯s vicious.

Ghufran Tuba and her family fled Syria in 2017.

Look
at this.

Naseem, 6

She was our sweetheart.

My husband and the kids went outside to get water to clean the house

when a bomb hit our yard in Syria.

He and Naseem were killed.

We don't know who was responsible.

Neighbors carried the surviving children to a hospital.

Shrapnel ripped into the children...

...except for Toqa.

The bombing was perhaps the most devastating for her mentally.

She didn¡¯t think she deserved to be spared while her siblings suffered.

Dr. Hamza says humiliating victims in Syria is systematic, designed to crush the human spirit.

He says warring parties on all sides are responsible.

¡°[They] are demolishing the human inside. [They] want him to become a walking shell.¡±
¡ªDr. M. K. Hamza