The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has expressed alarm at reports that up to 30 children have been killed during recent violence in Al Shafa village, in eastern Syria.
Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement that the killings demonstrate that “the war on children is far from over in Syria.”
Mr. Cappelaere added that the Syrian war, which has now lasted almost eight years, has been marked by a complete disregard for the fundamental principle of protection for children: “Between January and September 2018, the United Nations has verified the killing of 870 children – the highest number ever in the first nine months of any year since the start of the conflict in 2011. These are only verified cases, with actual numbers likely to be much higher.”
More than 5 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, with almost half forced to flee their homes. Many families have lost everything – including, for those who have fled the country, the protections that come with citizenship.
UNICEF is making critical efforts to minimize the impact of the crisis on children, including in the life-saving areas of health, nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, as well as education and child protection.
Mr. Cappelaere called on warring parties to protect all children, no matter where they are in Syria and no matter whose control they live under.”