Syria is the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Too many children are bearing witness to the violence, and a man living in Greenwood Village is part of an effort to help them.
"Their whole story is in their eyes and we could change it," Dr. Samir Witta said. "We can change it to something really good."
More than 6,000 miles away, he said changing Syria is not out of reach.
"Many of them witnessed their parents being killed, and suddenly they find themselves in a tent in a field close to the Turkish border," Witta said.
The UN reports around half of the people displaced in the war are kids and youth.
The atrocities can seem a world away in Colorado, but Witta has seen it firsthand. His relatives still live in Syria. He had to be smuggled into the country earlier this year to reach those waiting on the other side.
He was helping his family open classes for kids in three places, a refugee camp along the Turkey-Syria border, for girls in an orphanage they run and in the city of Salqin.
Salqin was bombed around the same time as the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun last week.
In the middle of a 6-year-old war that's killed nearly half a million people, Witta sees something else.
"This is the director of the camp telling them about starting school," he said looking at a video from February. He couldn't help smiling as he scrolled through photos from the first days of class, including the simple act of learning to write the letter "b".
Through the organization All the Children of Light, they are educating 2,100 kids ranging from 4 to 15 years old.
"If it wasn't for these classes, they may not know the letter b," he said.
Witta sees a future built on reading and writing, offering the briefest moments of peace.
"I think these kids if they get educated they will be able to build their own country," Witta said. "These are the seeds of the future of that country."