The Syrian conflict, which enters its fourth year this month, has unleashed massive suffering across all segments of Syrian society, but the impact on children has been especially acute, according to a new report by UNICEF. Malnutrition and illness have stunted their growth; a lack of learning opportunities has derailed their education; and the bloody trauma of war has left deep psychological scars.
“ …Children have lost lives and limbs, along with virtually every aspect of their childhood. They have lost classrooms and teachers, brothers and sisters, friends, caregivers, homes and stability. Millions of young people risk becoming, in effect, a lost generation,” UNICEF said.
UNICEF said that more than 10,000 children have been killed in the violence, which would translate into the highest casualty rates recorded in any recent conflict in the region. Of those who have survived, thousands have been wounded, lost their home and schools, and seen family members and friends killed. That trauma has left around 2 million children in need of psychological support or treatment, the agency said.
Almost 3 million children are displaced inside Syria, while another 1.2 million have fled the country and now live as refugees in camps and overwhelmed neighboring communities where clean water, food and other basic items are scarce.
On the education front, UNICEF said that nearly half of Syria’s school-age children — 2.8 million and counting — cannot get an education because of the devastation and violence.