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'A child dies every 10 hours' in Syria

Cristina Burack
March 13, 2020

Death and displacement are just two of the life-threatening challenges children in Syria face, UNICEF has reported. As fighting enters its 10th year, many Syrian kids have known nothing but war.

A Syrian child sits on a bad amidst adults
Image: AFP

The UN children's organization UNICEF issued a plea on Friday to support Syrian children as the war in Syria nears the start of its 10th year.

"A child dies every 10 hours as a result of the war," the organization said.

From 2014 through the end of 2019, 5,427 children were killed, UNICEF said in its Syria 9 March 2020 report.

The report also estimated that over 5 million children are in need inside Syria and 2.5 million more in neighboring countries.

In a video posted to Twitter, UNICEF also noted that all children in Syria under the age of nine have known nothing but war in their lifetime.

"Humanitarian help may not be able to end the war, but it can minimize the suffering of those most affected," said Christian Schneider, the head of UNIEF Germany.

He noted in a tweet that the war would enter its 10th year on Sunday and added his hope that "the terrible anniversary date would no longer have meaning in 2021."

In the report, UNICEF said it has received only 40% of the funds needed for 2020 to date and still faces a shortfall of $682 million (€610 million).

Infografik Einfluss syrischer Bürgerkrieg auf Kinder EN

Nearly a decade of fighting, millions displaced

The ongoing war began in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar Assad and quickly snowballed into violent fighting that drew in several countries and militant groups.

Russia and Iran joined the war throwing their support behind Assad. Western forces, including the United States, provided military aid to rebel fighters, partially as an attempt to fight the so-called "Islamic State" terror group, which at the height of its power controlled wide swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Syrian children smile while standing in a jail that has become a makeshift shelter
These displaced Syrian children are living in a jail in Idlib province that has been converted into a makeshift shelterImage: AFP/A. Watad

Most recently, the fighting in Syria has been concentrated in the northwestern province of Idlib, close to the border with Turkey.

In recent weeks, some 900,000 individuals, including more than half a million children, have been forced to flee the area due to confrontations between Turkish troops and Syrian government forces. 

Turkey, which hosts some 4 million refugees, recently allowed asylum-seekers within its border to travel onward towards Europe, causing thousands to amass on the border to Greece. Germany has urged the EU to take in around 1,500 child refugees.

Read more: Are Germany and the EU prepared for a new influx of refugees?

UNICEF's Syria 9 noted that since 2014, some 2.6 million children have been displaced within Syria, with some 2.5 million registered as refugees in neighboring countries. A total of 2.8 million children are out of school.

The report also included statistics on child labor, health and nutrition, education and displacement.

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