Begging in Beirut: Young refugees from Syria’s war scramble to survive on the streets

A Syrian woman from Aleppo begs for money in a wealthy district of Beirut, Lebanon, on Nov. 16. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

As the war in neighboring Syria drags on for a third year with no end in sight, Lebanon is under enormous social and political strain. A country of only 4 million people, it's become home home to more Syrian refugees than any other nation. According to the United Nations, almost two million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes. Of those, around half are believed to be children. While there is no official data on the number of children and adults working on the streets of Lebanon, estimates range from 50,000 to 70,000. In wealthy districts of Beirut, children and adults are on nearly every block begging, scavenging from the trash or offering pedestrians a shoe shine. --Getty Images

A Syrian woman from Damascus begs with her daughter in a wealthy district of Beirut on Nov. 16. Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Mohammad, a boy from Daraa, Syria, collects metal scrap to sell. Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Saad, a teen from Raqqa, Syria, collects scrap metal to sell. Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Ammar, 15, a shoe shine boy from Daraa, Syria Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Wallid, a Syrian refugee from the city of Daraa, displays his hand while taking a break from shining shoes. Spencer Platt / Getty Images