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UN envoy warns of trauma to children in Syria war

Friday - 7/19/2013, 3:22am  ET

FILE - In this Thursday, March 8, 2012 file photo, Ahmed, center, mourns his father Abdulaziz Abu Ahmed Khrer, who was killed by a Syrian Army sniper, during his funeral in Idlib, north Syria. The U.N. warns that Syria’s war is creating a generation of children who will grow up illiterate and filled with hate. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

BARBARA SURK
Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) -- Abdullah, a 9-year-old orphaned by Syria's civil war, was piled in to van by his uncle as gunfire rattled around them. One of the last things the boy says he saw in his hometown was the uncle falling, shot, as the van full of strangers took him away on a treacherous, 3-day journey to neighboring Lebanon.

Once in Beirut, the boy fell into the hands of a criminal gang specialized in exploiting the most vulnerable victims of the conflict next door. They put him to work selling flowers and gum on the street, beating him if he didn't bring them enough money.

The conflict that has ravaged Syria for more than 2
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