Graffiti artist, Mohammed 'Aerosol' Ali, sprayed a wall around the Greenwich mosque to mark the 8th anniversary of the Syrian conflict and to highlight Islamic Relief UK’s Day of Innocence campaign. 

The larger-than-life mural on Plumstead Road captures the spirit of the Syrian refugee children Mohammed met during a visit to Bekaa Valley refugee camp in Lebanon. 

The camp, which hosts around 350,000 refugees who are almost entirely dependent on aid, is situated in the mountains and close to the Syrian border. 

The artist, who was visiting the area with Islamic Relief UK, was inspired by the innocent play of the children in the camp.

Despite the freezing cold temperatures, the crowded tent structures and the backdrop of war, he was struck by how the children still managed to find ways to use the small area available to them as their own playground. 

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Mohammed said: “I wanted to capture a moment in time and bring that and the camp to the streets of London. These children are real; they are living and playing in freezing conditions right now.

"Some of the families I met used to live in three storey homes, now they live in houses made of fabric.

"They rely on charitable handouts for food and fuel. I want to give people in the UK a window into their world. An image that bursts onto the streets, that’s immediate and accessible and that says war isn’t just a game we see on the TV. It kills innocent people and childhoods”.

While in Lebanon, Mohammed also spent time working with refugee children benefiting from a community centre run by Islamic Relief Lebanon.

During the trip, the artist was inspired to create works in both the community centre with the children and out on the streets - using an old van and the coastal backdrop as a canvas.

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It was important ‘to leave something behind’, which might inspire and give hope to future generations. 

Islamic Relief UK’s Day of Innocence is an annual campaign, launched for the first time this year, to remember the tens of thousands of innocent civilians whose lives have been lost to war, and to highlight the millions who have survived and still need our help. 

The 8th anniversary of the Syrian conflict will take place on Friday 15 March.