'Pokémon Go' characters turn attention to the plight of Syrian children

"Pokémon Go" brings the plight of Syrian children trapped in an inflaming war to the forefront as activists release photos depicting Pokémon characters in the war-torn areas of Syria.

(REUTERS/Toru Hanai)High school students play the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo on their mobile phone in front of a busy crossing in Shibuya district in Tokyo, Japan, July 22, 2016.

The media outlet that supports groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS), released a series of photos on Facebook that depicted dispirited-looking young Syrians holding drawings of Pokémon characters with messages indicating their location and plea for rescue.

"I am in Kafr Nabl on the outskirts of Idlib, come and save me," read a message in one of the children's images.

"I am in Kafr Zeta, save me," said another.

The images quickly turned viral and were shared 21,500 times while hundreds commented to express sympathies.

RFS said they saw the opportunity to take advantage of the latest cultural phenomenon that is "Pokémon Go" to highlight the plight of Syrian children and to bring attention to the mass destruction and killing caused by al-Assad's forces.

"Syrian children are victims of the war and the brutal and indiscriminate attacks that are carried out on a daily basis by regime and Russian jets," an RFS spokesperson told The Independent. "The Syrian children are paying the price for the international inaction to stop the Assad killing machine."

Moustafa Jano, a Syrian artist who resettled in Sweden, also posted a series of images on Facebook that depicted Pokémon characters sharing the plight of Syrian refugees and war victims. He even quoted a line from Jonas Gardell, a Swedish novelist, in a caption to one of his posts.

"Grandpa, what did you do that summer of 2016, when the world was on fire? Oh, dear grandchildren, we were looking for Pokémon Characters in the phone!" wrote Jano.

Saif Tahhan, a Syrian graphic designer who resettled in Denmark a couple of years ago, recreated a "Syria Go" version of the augmented reality game where players hunt for emergency supplies for war victims.

The Syrian civil war started five years ago and was estimated to have killed more than 250,000.

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