Syrian Crisis: Situation for children hits rock bottom



    Syrian Crisis: Situation for children hits rock bottom Photo courtesy: UNICEF

    The situation for Syria's children has "hit rock bottom" in 2016, with more killed than in any other year of the civil war, the United Nations children's organisation UNICEF said in its annual report.

    According to the report, at least 652 children died - 255 of them in or near a school - last year, a 20% jump from the number killed during 2015. "No child is spared the horror of the war in Syria, where children come under attack on a daily basis. Violence is everywhere, ripping apart places that children thought were safe -- places that should be safe: schools, hospitals, playgrounds, public parks and children’s own homes," the organisation said.

    Unicef believes at least 652 children were killed in 2016 alone - a 20 per cent increase from 2015, making 2016 the worst year for Syria’s children since child casualties have been formally documented. In less than one week in Aleppo, 223 children were injured and 96 were killed last September. Also doctors were forced to leave children with low chances of survival to die  because of limited capacity and lack of basic medical supplies.

    Similarly, Unicef believes over 850 children were recruited to fight in 2016.Those recruited increasingly found themselves on the frontline or, in extreme cases, used as executioners, suicide bombers or prison guards."The depth of suffering is unprecedented," said Geert Cappelaere, Unicef regional director for the Middle East and North Africa speaking from Homs, Syria."Millions of children in Syria come under attack on a daily basis, their lives turned upside down."

    Meanwhile, Water has been used as a weapon of war by all parties to the conflict. In 2016, the UN documented 30 deliberate water cuts in Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Raqqa and Dara’a. Most recently, running water supply to Damascus was cut off for over four weeks, depriving millions of people10 of their access to safe water and raising the risk of waterborne diseases espesially among children. At distribution points, children queued for hours in freezing temperatures to fetch water for their families. After six years of war, nearly 6 million children now depend on humanitarian
    assistance, with almost half forced to flee their homes.“ Children and families in Aleppo are facing a catastrophic situation. These water cuts are coming amid a heat wave, putting children at a grave risk of waterborne diseases," said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Syria, August 2016.

    Six million children are now relying on humanitarian aid due to the civil war, which has been raging for six years this week. Some 2.3 million of them have fled the country, but the most vulnerable are the 2.8 million trapped in hard-to-reach areas, which includes 280,000 living under siege, the Unicef report said.Mr Cappelaere added: "Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being, and future."

    Some 2.3 million of them have fled the country, but the most vulnerable are the 2.8 million trapped in hard-to-reach areas, which includes 280,000 living under siege, the Unicef report said. Cappelaere added: "Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being, and future."

    Last week, Save the Children warned millions of Syrian children could be living in a state of "toxic stress", which the charity feared may become irreversible without immediate help. It also found two-thirds of children had either lost a loved one, had their house bombed or shelled, or been injured as a result of the war.

    The Oslo Times International News Network

     
     

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