Darayya, once a quiet suburb southwest of central Damascus, was home to 170,000 people.

As the war intensified, Darayya was subjected to intense regime bombing, forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee. Left behind was a population of 8,000 civilians and a bombed-out shell of a city.

In 2012 the regime encircled Darayya and its residents. They live under what independent monitor Siege Watch calls a “Tier 1 siege,” meaning that the UN “is able to negotiate few if, any, aid deliveries.” Residents face “a high risk of malnutrition/dehydration and denial of medical care,” according to Siege Watch’s website. No aid has entered Darayya since 2012.

Since the encirclement began, more than 600 children have been born in Darayya.

In this Syria Direct dispatch from blockaded Darayya, children discuss their own lives in their own words.