Today, the war in Syria is entering its tenth year. At that time, a total of nearly five million Syrian children were born in a torn country. Outside the borders, another one million children as a Syrian refugee were born, UNICEF reports.
Since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, a total of 384,000 people have died. According to the UN organization that stands up for children’s rights, the youngest pays a high price in the war. Between 2014 and 2019, 5,427 children were killed in acts of war, and another 1,639 were injured. In total, at least 22,000 children are said to have died since 2011, according to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory.
Warring parties also recruited about 5,000 children. More than 1,000 schools and children’s hospitals have been bombed over the past decade, also severely damaging the entire infrastructure for children.
According to Unicef director, Henrietta Fore, there is also a lot of untold grief. Parents have sometimes had to marry off their daughters at a very young age or let their sons go to find work for the family elsewhere. “These children urgently need protection and safety. That they have been through so much loss, fear, and hardship for so long is absolutely unbearable,” said UNICEF director Suzanne Laszlo.
UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen regrets that the conflict will never end. “That the war is now entering its tenth year is proof of a collective failure of diplomacy,” said Pedersen.
Since 2012, the number of displaced children in Syria has more than doubled. In the past three months, violence in the northwest of the country has driven out other 575,000 children, the highest number of children adrift in such a short time since the war started in 2011. In the meantime, children and families have fled en masse within Syria, across borders and beyond.
The pressure on the host and refugee communities in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey is disproportionate. They receive 83 percent of the total number of Syrian refugees. The number of refugee children in these countries has also increased more than tenfold to 2.5 million.
Not in school
It is estimated that 2.8 million Syrian children do not attend school. Some children have never been to school, while others have missed nine years of their education, which is difficult to catch up on. Almost half of the schools have been destroyed or used for shelter or military purposes.
“These children have the right to protection, the right to grow up in freedom, the right to education. Stop destroying children’s lives and give the children of Syria a future again,” Laszlo emphasized.