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Syrian children suffering — UNICEF

28 March 2014

by a staff reporter


House of mirth: young Syrian refugees at a youth centre supported by World Vision, in Zarqa, north of the Jordanian capital, Amman

House of mirth: young Syrian refugees at a youth centre supported by World Vision, in Zarqa, north of the Jordanian capital, Amman

A REPORT released by UNICEF suggests that the number of children in Syria affected by violence has doubled in the past 12 months.

The report Under Siege, published earlier this month, estimates that 5.5 million children have been affected by the conflict. And about a million of these are still in hard-to-reach areas, beyond the help of humanitarian aid.

One in ten children - about 1.2 million - are estimated to have fled the conflict, and are now living in refugee camps in neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

The report says that 10,000 children have lost their lives in the fighting. Some witnesses said that children and pregnant women were being deliberately targeted.

A British doctor working in Aleppo, David Notts, told the UN that he had treated patients who had been deliberately shot at by snipers - including, he said, "children as young as two. . . Some of the pregnant women had been shot in the abdomen. I was told [by local medical staff] this was not unusual."

Another report released this month by World Vision looks at the lives of children who have left Syria. The charity invited refugee children to share their concerns, and published the results in a report, Stand with Me: Our uncertain future.

Their main concerns were poverty and discrimination in their host communities. They called for host countries "to treat us better, and to accept us until this crisis is over", and for the international community to exert more pressure "to help us end this crisis".

One 15-year-old said: "Wefled the flames of war, only tofind ourselves surrounded by danger, explosions, kidnapping,and theft."

Speaking earlier this month at a #WithSyria vigil at Coventry Cathedral, the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, said: "The scenes of destruction and suffering from Syria point to an apocalyptic disaster, and yet the massacre in Syria continues unchecked. . .

"We can remain silent no more. The world can ill afford another anniversary for Syria marked by bloodshed. . . The Church stands with others in shining a light in solidarity with the people of Syria; and as a demonstration to our own government, and others, that they must intensify their efforts to end the bloodshed, and to get aid to all those in need."

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