What Toll Does Ongoing Siege Take on Children in Syria?
The political situation in Syria has implications for the stability of the international environment and surrounding regions, not to mention the destruction the conflict has wrought on the nation as a whole. Unicef released a report Tuesday that highlights the effects that three years of conflict have had on specifically the children of Syria, who have grown up in a nation that is under constant internal siege. The report adds wider generational concerns to the already substantial body of evidence of human rights violations.
Denunciation of the conflict and child abuse issues were covered in the UN’s February release, which discussed the high prevalence of child recruitment for militant militias, and the victimization, both through sexual and physical abuse, that many captured children saw at the hands of both sides. It listed 100,000 deaths in Syria since March 2011, and 10,000 of which were children — not to mention the list of injuries from shelling, air strikes, bombing, crossfire, and shooting of children at anti-government protests. Chemical weapons have brought about their own horrifying set of damage on youths, leading to many casualties and injuries.
Now, Unicef’s release reports that “more than twice as many children are now affected compared to 12 months ago” by the Syrian conflict — over 5.5 million children are looking at a war-torn future, and up to 1 million children located in regions that Unicef and other humanitarian programs are unable to reach or cannot access often enough to fill needs. Another 1.2 million have been forced to flee Syria and become refugees, a number that the report reminds readers is increasing daily, with 37,498 Syrian children having been born as refugees.