Nearly 7 Million Children Living in Poverty in Syria

Children at a shelter in Jibreen, Aleppo, Syria, play with a cart. Photo: UNICEF/Rzehak
Children at a shelter in Jibreen, Aleppo, Syria, play with a cart. Photo: UNICEF/Rzehak

A top United Nations relief official on Tuesday urged to end attacks and obstacles that prevent humanitarian workers from reaching the hundreds of thousands of civilians still trapped in the war-torn Syria.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that – all over Syria – millions of people, in locations inside and outside the four de-escalation areas, continue to suffer because they lack the most basic elements to sustain their lives,” said Stephen O’Brien, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefing the Security Council.

“We must not stand silent while violence flares up elsewhere in the country and parties continue to use starvation, fear tactics and the denial of food, water, medical supplies, and other forms of aid as methods of war,” he stated.

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The war in Syria, now into its seventh year, has extracted the worst toll on the country’s children. Tens of thousands have been killed and many have been forcibly detained, tortured, subjected to sexual violence, forcibly recruited and in some cases executed.

Just last week, 30 children and women were injured in an attack by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) on besieged neighbourhoods in Deir ez-Zor as they were lining up to collect water.

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Furthermore, in recent weeks, more than a hundred civilians, many of them women and children, have fallen victim to escalating counter-ISIL airstrikes, particularly in the north-eastern governorates of Al-Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.

According to estimates, nearly seven million children are living in poverty and some 1.75 million are out of schools with another 1.35 million at the risk of dropping out. Almost one in three schools have been damaged, destroyed, or otherwise made inaccessible.

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Rakesh Raman