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Syria's Suffering Families

Years Of Quiet: No Cure For Syrian Boy Who Can’t Speak

Image: Mourad and his brother Khaled

Mourad, 4, and his brother Khaled, 6, sit in front of their house, where they live with their mother Fatima and other relatives in Reyhanli, Turkey. Ivor Prickett / Panos for NBC News

It's been two months since we first met four year-old Murad and he still cannot speak.

Still, he is improving. In April, Murad was silent, now he is making sounds. He makes emphatic noises and points to what he wants. And he doesn't stop smiling.

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In April, Murad's mother, Fatima, told us of myriad ways her family had suffered in the Syrian war. How another of her children, a toddler called Samira, was killed in an air raid. How soldiers drove off with her husband and left her with no hope for his survival. Her own is precarious at best.

Syrian Child’s Quiet Smile Concerns 0:45

Fatima, who is only in her early 20s, must survive as a single mother in a dilapidated house without windows or running water. Here in Reyhanli, a Turkish town near the border with Syria, she needs basic supplies, including diapers for Murad, who isn't yet toilet-trained. And she must figure out what to do about his delayed speech.

"Is there any mother who wouldn't be worried about her own son," Fatima says. "Can you feel my pain? Four years and we can't understand what he says, what he wants."

Since our last visit, Fatima has taken Murad to four or five doctors. She's been told his hearing isn't good -- he was close to an explosion in Syria -- which might explain his lack of words. But right now there is no prospect of treatment, let alone cure.

Aziz Akyavas contributed to this report.