In northwest Syria, over half million children forced to flee

File/Representational Image

New Delhi (NVI): Over half a million children have fled violence in northwest Syria since December 2019 due to intense violence, with tens of thousands of children and their families now living in tents and in the open air amid very cold weather and rains.

Since the beginning of this year, 77 children were verified killed or injured due to the escalation of violence in the area, according to a UNICEF report.

“The situation in the northwest is untenable, even by Syria’s grim standards,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director was quoted as saying in the report.

“Children and families are caught between the violence, the biting cold, the lack of food and the desperate living conditions. Such abject disregard for the safety and wellbeing of children and families is beyond the pale and must not go on,” Henrietta says.

“We walked for three days and now live in tents. All of our belongings were soaked with rain and mud,” says a recently displaced mother originally from Saraqeb in Idlib, now living in the Aleppo area. “I have a very sick child who needs urgent surgery, but I cannot afford it. If my child dies, all I could do is bury him.”

Amid an escalating humanitarian crisis, in the recently received reports, about the last two operational hospitals in the western part of Aleppo governorate were hit, one of them a maternity and children’s hospital.

The carnage in northwest Syria continues to exact a horrific toll on children, according to the UNICEF Executive Director.  “It is time for the guns to go silent and for the violence to stop once and for all. Parties to the conflict must protect children and the infrastructure on which they depend, give families respite and allow humanitarian workers to respond to the massive needs, in accordance with international humanitarian law,” Henrietta added.