Syrian kids chase Pokémon in war-torn Aleppo (VIDEO)

To escape the harsh realities of existence in war-torn Aleppo, the few children who have smartphones use brief moments of silence in between battles and internet blackouts to hunt Nintendo’s virtual creatures amid the city rubble.

While many face difficulties in downloading the game due to a poor internet connection in the ravaged city that has been one of the epicenters in the Syrian war for the last five years, those lucky enough to get a hold of it wind their way through bombed-out buildings to capture digital characters.

The augmented reality game is free to play and operates on the basis of a player’s location, randomly spawning Pokemon creatures as the player is traveling in the real world.

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As the Pokémon Go influenza continues spreading its tentacles across the globe, Nintendo creatures have been used over the past month on a number of occasions in Syria to convey human suffering in the country to the global multi-million player community.

Last month Syrian artist Khaled Akil, inserted the Pokémon figures to images of the conflict taken by AFP photographers to highlight the harsh reality that children living in a war zone face every day.

“This project is not to blame people for not paying attention to Syria. It is just a spotlight on what is happening there,” Akil said of his project titled “Pokémon Go in Syria. 

Just a few weeks earlier, pictures of children holding up printouts with popular Pokémon characters and a message reading “come save me” was shared by the Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office. The location shots of the photoshoots are believed to be near the cities of Hama and Idlib, both also ravished by war.