Idlib, Syria and Reyhanli, Turkey – When Khalid Abdel Razek Abu al-Zumar heard that his five-year-old son had been accepted into a programme that would restore his hearing, he rushed to prostrate himself in prayer to thank God.

Aslan, a nattily dressed, smiley little boy, had been hearing impaired his whole life, and now he had a chance to hear his family’s voices and play with other children his age in a whole new way.

“My heart would break whenever kids avoided playing with my kids because they can’t communicate with them in the usual way,” said Khalid, who is 31 years old and a father of five.