Yearning for a better future in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 21 October 2016 – For 14 year-old Jaffar, going back to school will never be the same.
In eastern Aleppo, going to school is a challenge
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 October 2016 – In late September, the new school year started in several areas across the Syrian Arab Republic.
In Greece, a family split apart by border closures in desperate bid to reunite
ATHENS, Greece, 6 September 2016 – Word finally came after months of anxious waiting from her father, Kasem Alsabsabi, in Bebra, Hessen, Germany – he had arrived, had an operation, was on radiotherapy treatment, had found a place to live and was now ready and desperately keen for his beloved family to join him.
Education under fire: Schools in Aleppo damaged in renewed fighting
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 22 August 2016 – The life of a child in Aleppo has become even more dangerous in recent weeks, as intense attacks and fighting escalate across the city. At a time when children are at even greater risk of bombardments and fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic, education has become another casualty. Schools in Aleppo have come under attack, with many occupied by fighters and left destroyed or damaged.
Children in Aleppo threatened by new intense fighting and denial of life-saving aid
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 2 August 2016 – Children in Aleppo city are again facing terrible threats from new intense attacks and fighting in the western parts of the city, while around 120,000 children are among the nearly 300,000 people cut off from life-saving humanitarian aid in the east. In the past few days, violence and fighting escalated with children in the line of fire.
Syrian children’s courage for education offers hope amid grim realities
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 July, 2016 – What would you do if the only way you could sit for your high school exams was to travel for 13 hours through countless checkpoints manned by heavily armed fighters? How would you feel if 12 years of hard work to get your diploma was in vain because of a war that never seemed to end?
From inside Darayya: UNICEF on first humanitarian convoys to enter besieged Syrian city in four years
DARAYYA, Syrian Arab Republic, 10 June 2016 – UNICEF teams have seen a bleak reality of fear and trauma inside Darayya – as well as strength and hope among children – while taking part in the first two humanitarian convoys to reach the city in four years.
Signs of recovery amid the siege in Madaya
MADAYA, Syrian Arab Republic, 10 May 2016 – Madaya, the Syrian town that was once the scene of shocking images of malnourished children, is showing small signs of recovery. Thanks to UNICEF’s support and the determination of health workers, the situation of malnutrition in Madaya is slowly improving.
In Madaya, permanent scars met with glimmers of hope
MADAYA/DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 8 April 2016 – “People looked healthier than during my first visit,” says a UNICEF health worker, on return from a mission to Madaya in mid-March. The earlier mission, in January, had found the town’s residents barely surviving.
Bringing warmth to refugee families sheltering in Lebanon
AKKAR, Lebanon, 3 March 2016 – Once upon a time, in a small tent of tarpaulin stretched across wooden mattress frames, Tamara told her version of an old fairy tale. “I had also lost my shoes, but not because I had to leave them behind for a prince to find me. And that spell only lasted until midnight,” she says.
UNICEF delivers urgent aid to besieged communities in the Syrian Arab Republic
MOADAMIYEH, Syrian Arab Republic, 24 February 2016 – Children were walking to school on a hazy Wednesday morning when the United Nations team pulled out of Moadamiyeh. UNICEF and its partners had just completed a delivery of much-needed aid for this besieged community of 45,000.
Syrian children cultivate some happiness, at a communal shelter
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 2 February 2016 – “I felt proud of myself when the first buds sprouted. It was the most beautiful day ever,” says Ahmed.
In a desperate Syrian town, children too weak to smile
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 12 January 2016 – “A heartbreaking scene like I have never seen before,” said UNICEF Representative in the Syrian Arab Republic Hanaa Singer, describing the crowds of people in Madaya, as a humanitarian convoy arrived in the town.
Sharing cherished memories provides vital comfort for Syrian children
QAMISHLI, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 December 2015 – “He always bought us the best clothes and took us for walks in the gardens of Aleppo, where we’d have our lunch in the open air,” says Ghaithaa, 13.
The struggle to reach Syrian children with quality nutrition
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 8 September 2015 – At 6 months old, Youssef, suffering from severe acute malnutrition, weighed just 3.2 kg (7 lb). His mother was extremely worried. The little boy had also been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that mostly affects the lungs, and his body was so frail, he struggled to breathe. His life was in danger.
In the ruins of a Syrian city, a woman’s courage endures
DAMASCUS, Syria, 17 August 2015 – Esraa Alkhalaf has experienced sniper bullets, ferocious fighting, water and electricity cuts, an abusive man, and has seen chunks of her city reduced to rubble. In spite of it all, this woman with a soft demeanour and a strong will stays in her adopted home of Aleppo for two reasons: a commitment to the city’s women and children, and her lifelong dream of getting her doctoral degree.
Clean water transforms a shelter for displaced Syrian families
LATAKIA/TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 22 July 2015 – Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, hundreds of thousands of families have sought refuge in the relatively safer coastal cities. As fighting escalates in northern Syria, still more people have fled conflict in Idleb, Aleppo and rural Latakia to seek refuge in the city of Latakia.
In a refugee camp, education is the only hope
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 15 July 2015 – Sporting a bright yellow jersey and a wide grin, Ahmed* greets us at the football field outside the drop-in centre in Za’atari camp. He has just scored a goal and his team is ecstatic.
A job and a bicycle: A refugee boy’s struggle to survive in Lebanon
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 2 July 2015 – Each morning, 15-year-old Ahmad rides his crimson red bicycle to a picturesque stone house on a small street in Beirut. At 8:30 a.m., he unlocks the gate with the keys entrusted to him and enters the tranquil front yard.
In Lebanon, mobile medical units provide life-saving care
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, 17 February 2015 – Removing her shoe, a Syrian woman dangles her foot over a small fire while her husband crouches and rubs his hands together. Nearby, clothes on a laundry line sway in the freezing wind, barely drying.
New supplies bring hope to Syrian schools
DAMASCUS, Syria, 26 September 2014 – “I love my new school bag,” says Dania*, a fourth grade student at Abdurrahmaan Khazen elementary school in Damascus. As part of a UNICEF back-to-learning campaign, Dania and 1,500 other students in her school received their school materials for this year.
Sustaining the commitment to preventing a lost generation of Syrian children
NEW YORK, United States of America, 24 September 2014 – The partners of the No Lost Generation initiative met today on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly to take stock of progress made since the initiative launched in October 2013 to help safeguard the future of a generation of children affected by the Syrian crisis, and to endorse the next phase of its strategy .
Vaccination campaign to reach most vulnerable children in Lebanon
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 23 July 2014 – “On your mark, get set, go!” A group of Syrian refugee children burst across the starting line on the thin strip of fresh tarmac in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, running as fast as they can. Girls and boys bearing the slogan ‘To Immunize and Protect Every Child’ whizz past mothers and younger siblings watching the launch of Immunization Week.
In the Syrian Arab Republic, mobile teams extend the reach of vaccination effort
DAMASCUS, Syria, 1 May 2014 – Almost six months after the confirmation of the first new polio case in the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF continues to support national efforts in tackling the outbreak.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom visits Syrian children in Jordan
IRBID/ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 16 April 2014 – In a run-down washroom between two apartment blocks in Jordan’s northern city of Irbid, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom chatted with a Syrian family. They fled Aleppo two years ago for safety in Jordan. But since then, they’ve been living a precarious life in a basic accommodation.
Refugee children determined to keep learning, as Syrian conflict reaches three-year mark
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 14 March 2014 – Shaiima* sits on a thin mattress perched on the straw mat of her family’s makeshift tent in eastern Lebanon. The 9-year-old girl leans towards her mother, Salha, who wraps her arm tenderly around Shaiima’s waist. Eyes wide, Shaiima is listening to her father, Awad, talk about their life back in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Children cannot afford to face another year of Syrian conflict, says Executive Director on visit with displaced families in Homs
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 March 2014 – The cacophony of children’s shouts and laughter echoes around the shelter for displaced children and families in the Syrian city of Homs, where they are participating in two hours of recreational activities.
After fleeing 600 days of siege, a Syrian family has nowhere to go
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 February 2014 – “We have no idea where can we go now,” says Ahida, a mother of six living in Al Andalus, a facility for internally displaced people. “When we left the Old City, we knew we don’t have anywhere to go, but we had enough of hunger. We had to leave Old Homs.”
Malnutrition a silent threat emerging among Syrian refugee children in Lebanon
GHAZIYEH, Lebanon, 25 February 2014 – Fatmeh, Mona, Siham, Tourkia, Leila and the others sit in a collective shelter in Ghaziyeh, south Lebanon. The women are talking about their lives in the Syrian Arabic Republic, before the conflict broke out. They recall beautiful stone houses surrounded by orange trees, a room for each child, university for their older children, schools for the younger ones, the food.
Field diary: Convoy of emergency supplies reaches Syrian families in conflict-ravaged district
AREHA, Idleb Governorate/Tartous, 10 February 2014 – Calm has returned to Areha, a town about 14 km south of Idleb city, but the tell-tale signs of heavy fighting are all too visible.
Hassan's story: "We all have dreams"
TAL AL ABIAD, Baalbek, Lebanon, 30 January 2014 – Hassan is 13 years old. He has never been to school. Hassan is lost between two countries. His father is Syrian and his mother Lebanese, but he does not exist, officially, in either country.
Abdel-Hamid’s story: Life in an informal settlement in Lebanon
BAALBEK, Lebanon, 24 January 2014 – Abdel-Hamid is 7 years old. He arrived in Lebanon with his family almost two years ago.
Bringing learning to Syrian refugee children in Lebanon
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 10 January 2014 – Many of the younger children struggle to hold a pen. Some don’t know how; others have forgotten.
No lost generation – we must act now
NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 January 2014 – As the Syrian crisis rages on, approaching its fourth year, an entire generation of children is being shaped by violence, displacement and a persistent lack of opportunity – and could be lost forever, with profound long-term consequences for the Syrian Arab Republic, the region and beyond.
Field diary: Delivering aid to Syrian families in rural Idleb
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 6 January 2014 – I took part in a recent United Nations convoy that delivered much-needed relief supplies to a hard-to-reach area of rural Idleb, in the northwest part of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Polio immunization effort aims to reach all Syrian children
DAMASCUS, Syria, 19 December 2013 – The largest-ever immunization campaign in the Middle East has recently been underway, with the aim to vaccinate more than 23 million children against polio in the region, including in the Syrian Arab Republic, where 17 cases of polio were confirmed as of the end of November.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon brace against the coming winter
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, 19 December 2013 – Storm ‘Alexa’ brought snow, rain, high wind speeds and sub-zero temperatures to the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley has been one of the areas hit hardest.
In Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp, a boy finds solace in caring for birds
ZA’ATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan, 17 December 2013 – Some uninformed adults, this author included, might not know that doves and pigeons belong to the same species. But one young boy in Jordan’s sprawling Za’atari refugee camp will happily tell you that – and so much more.
A Syrian girl is born in northern Iraq
SULIMANIYAH, Iraq, 6 December 2013 – Baby Jian came into the world just one day after her mother arrived in Arbat refugee camp in northern Iraq.
As winter sets in, essential supplies arrive for Syrian refugee children in Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 4 December 2013 – UNICEF has received its first shipment of winter clothing and shoes for Syrian refugee children in Iraq. Two truckloads of supplies came from Turkey, which UNICEF will assemble into complete kits to be distributed in the refugee camps in northern Iraq.
In Iraq, meeting the needs of Syrian refugees living with disabilities
SULIMANIYAH, Iraq, 29 November 2013 – There are nearly 2,500 Syrians living in Arbat refugee camp just outside of Sulimaniyah, and many of them, like Suliman Gorgis’s family, live with disabilities.
Field diary: A visit to Jordan’s borderlands
IRBID, Jordan, 22 November 2013 – It’s olive season in Jordan. Between rows of trees, on the outskirts of the north-western town of Irbid, children help their parents collect this year’s crop.
School clubs help conflict-affected Syrian children access remedial education
DAMASCUS, Syria/AMMAN, Jordan, 21 November 2013 – Despite the extraordinary challenges of operating in the midst of conflict, UNICEF-supported school clubs in the Syrian Arab Republic have reached close to 290,000 children with remedial education and recreation activities.
In Turkey, new shoes for Syrian refugee children
ADIYAMAN, Turkey, 15 November 2013 – There are many reasons children don’t go to school. Not having a pair of shoes is rarely one of them. For many Syrian children living in Turkey’s refugee camps, however, lack of shoes and warm clothing can make or break their academic future.
In Lebanon, protecting hundreds of thousands of children against polio
OMARIYA, Lebanon, 13 November 2013 – On the morning of 8 November, scores of Syrian refugee children at the Omariya informal settlement in east Lebanon held a joyful demonstration amongst the tents in their camp. Accompanied by social worker from the Lebanese NGO Beyond, they held colourful placards with the word ‘polio’ in Arabic crossed out, and they chanted, “Mom, Mom, I want to get vaccinated! Dad, Dad, I want to get vaccinated!”
Government and UNICEF provide support and training for Syrian teachers in Turkey's refugee camps
ADANA, Turkey, 7 November 2013 – When Muhammed Ismael, 41, first arrived in Turkey from Edlib, in the Syrian Arab Republic, he did not want just to sit idle. After settling in the Altinozu camp in Hatay, the father of six decided to put his skills and experience as an English language teacher in service to children who, like him, are living as refugees.
In Jordan, polio vaccination campaign focuses on Syrian refugee children
ZA’ATARI CAMP, Jordan, 5 November 2013 – The smell of coffee breaks the stale, dusty Za’atari air. Inside a caravan home, 19-year-old Hana'a is cooking up a strong Arabic brew. Her 18-month-old daughter, Ayah, is playing ball with her father.
Syrian refugee boys snatch a glimpse of normality through football tournament in Sulimaniyah, Iraq
SULIMANIYAH, Iraq, 5 November 2013 – It’s a sight you see all over the world on a Saturday afternoon – boys lined up in their football uniforms, getting ready to go onto the pitch.
Visiting Lebanon, UNICEF Director pledges continued support for Syrian refugee children
“The Lebanese Government and people have opened their borders and hearts to those fleeing conflict in Syria,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “The international community owes it to Lebanon to do everything it can to help adapt to this situation.”
A Syrian refugee girl says yes to school, no to early marriage
ZA’ATARI CAMP, Jordan, 29 October 2013 – Manal arrived in Za’atari refugee camp with her mother, Majida, and 9-year-old sister, Malak, last December. Her father and brother arrived a few months later. Soon after that, 16-year-old Manal was engaged to be married.
UNICEF Executive Director meets with displaced families during immunization campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 October 2013 – During a two-day visit to the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has praised the efforts of national partners, community and local organizations and volunteers in the provision of humanitarian assistance for the most at-risk Syrian children and women.
A vaccination campaign hopes to reach 2.4 million children in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 28 October 2013 – “Nurses will visit the school and give you vaccines that will protect you from disease and sickness,” announces Rihab to her Grade 6 students at the end of the school day. It is a scene repeated in thousands of classrooms across the Syrian Arab Republic in advance of a vaccination campaign.
Emergency school supplies promote learning amid an education crisis, in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic and AMMAN, Jordan, 31 October 2013 – A Back to Learning campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic has reached more than 400,000 conflict-affected children with school bags and education supplies.
In northern Iraq, 12-year-old Dima finds a glimmer of hope in a tent school for Syrian refugees
ERBIL, Iraq, 29 October 2013 – Dima, 12, dreams of becoming a doctor.
Continuing studies amid continuing unrest, in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 October 2013 – It’s morning, and Widad, 19, waits impatiently for Douaa, 18, in the alley outside her house.
Field diary: Two Syrian refugees in Iraq’s Kawergosk camp at risk of becoming 'lost schoolgirls'
ERBIL, Iraq, 21 October 2013 – “She’s so smart,” Warfa says of her daughter, Cibar, 9, as she tries to help her to remember the English alphabet. Cibar can only get to ‘C’.
Health volunteers help mothers and their newborn babies in Kawergosk refugee camp, Iraq
ERBIL, Iraq, 18 October 2013 – Berevan Yusaf Tamo, a Syrian refugee, is far from home. About a month ago, she crossed the Iraqi border, heavily pregnant.
Secondary education critical so Syrian youth won't feel lost, stresses UNICEF Iraq's Maulid Warfa
ERBIL, Iraq, 16 October 2013 – Visiting a refugee camp is a very personal experience for Maulid Warfa.
Syrian field diary: 400,000 caught in latest upsurge of conflict
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 October 2013 – An eerie calm descends over Al Waer, an outer suburb of Homs, as we enter an area that is home to some 400,000 people caught in the middle of conflict.
A Syrian mother sheltering in Iraqi Kurdistan wants just two things for her young daughters - peace, and to return home
ERBIL, Iraq, 9 October 2013 – Shereen’s younger child is named Ayenda, which, she says, means ‘future’.
New schools in new camps in Kurdistan Region of Iraq bring new hopes for Syrian refugees
ERBIL, Iraq, 4 October 2013 – It’s been nearly two months since the government in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq reopened its borders to accept refugees fleeing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. Some 63,000 Syrian people have crossed the border since mid-August.
For Syrian children, education needs are urgent, and urgently underfunded
NEW YORK, United States of America, 24 September 2013 – A roundtable discussion on the educational needs of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon is among events on the agenda of United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Gordon Brown, during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Brown’s role as Special Envoy includes garnering support for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Global Education First Initiative, which strives to achieve quality education for all children.
Plan calls for funds to support education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon
NEW YORK, United States of America, 23 September 2013 – In a press conference today convened by A World at School and United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, new financial commitments and a youth mobilization committee were announced to help Syrian refugee children living in Lebanon.
Field diary: Two children of Kawergosk refugee camp, Iraqi Kurdistan
ERBIL, Iraq, 20 September 2013 – The story of Erbil is a long one. Urban life is believed to have begun here some 7,000 years ago, which puts it among the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth.
Much-needed support in face of huge needs in Dara'a, Syrian Arab Republic
DARA’A, Syrian Arab Republic, 18 September 2013 – I was part of a UNICEF team that joined with five other United Nations agencies on a humanitarian assessment mission to the southern part of the Syrian Arab Republic. The aim was to assess the situation in Dara’a, deliver emergency supplies and meet with partner agencies.
Kurdish students help prepare Syrian refugee children's return to school in northern Iraq
SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq, 17 September 2013 – It’s over 40 °C in the new Arbat refugee camp in northern Iraq. But, the heat hasn’t stopped dozens of young Syrian refugee children from lining up for something they’ve been eagerly looking forward to – the first day of school.
Support for Syrian children who arrive at Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan - alone
ZA’ATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan, 20 September 2013 – At a protection centre for Syrian children who arrive at Za’atari refugee camp by themselves, 12-year-old Ahmad* smiles, rubs his swollen eyes.
Students promote learning in Za'atari Camp, Jordan
ZA’ATARI CAMP, Jordan, 12 September 2013 – A group of young girls are striding out of the school gates with a purpose. The new school year is starting, and they’re on a mission to get their peers back to school.
Helping displaced Syrian children cope with conflict
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 10 September 2013 – In a peaceful mountain area of rural Tartous, the fighting and destruction affecting other parts of the Syrian Arab Republic seem far.
UNICEF officer says Syrian children need us today
NEW YORK, United States of America, 30 August 2013 – As the stakes in the Syrian conflict continue to rise, UNICEF Emergency Specialist AbdulKadir Musse prepares to return to one of the most dangerous places on earth.
Aya – one child, one of one million Syrian refugee children
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, 22 August 2013 – Her smile is contagious. She’s energetic, she's playful and she’s talented. Eight-year-old Aya hasn’t been to school in two years, and she is eager to learn. Every day, she takes lessons in reading and writing from her older sister Essaf in the makeshift tent in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley – a valley crowded by a steady stream of Syrian refugees – that’s been their home for far too long.
In Syria, a glimpse into the everyday dangers faced by humanitarian workers
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 17 May 2013 – As I was first arriving in Damascus from Beirut by road, the only accessible route for UN staff travelling into the conflict-torn Syrian capital, I saw a huge plume of black smoke rising in the distance. My colleague, the UNICEF driver who picked me up from Beirut, said it was coming from the direction of Daraya. The name immediately rang a bell, as it was frequently mentioned in the news as a scene of intense fighting.
Syrian children in Turkey build bridges to the future
OSMANIYE AND SARIÇAM CAMPS, Turkey, 2 August 2013 – “Expressing my opinions without pressure; living in freedom and safety.” This is how one Syrian child, displaced by war and living in a camp in Turkey, defined the rights of the child during an art class organized with the support of UNICEF Turkey.
Pau Gasol visits Syrian refugee children in Iraq
DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq, 30 July 2013 – Two-time NBA champion Lakers player and UNICEF Spain Ambassador since 2003 Pau Gasol has returned today from visiting Domiz, a refugee camp in Iraq that provides shelter to more than 45,000 Syrian refugees who have fled their country seeking safety from the deadly conflict. Upon arriving in Barcelona, he offered a press conference to share his experience in what was his fifth visit to the field as a UNICEF Spain Ambassador.
Syrian field diary: Child witnesses to death and bloodshed
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 24 July 2013 – I first went to the Syrian Arab Republic in the summer of 2012 with the United Nations Supervision Mission (UNSMIS). Even as fighting between Government forces and the armed opposition spread, I travelled around the country. I visited villages that had been totally stripped of human life, and walked into burned-down homes.
How do you provide water and sanitation to 50,000 people in the middle of the desert?
AZRAQ, Jordan, 19 July 2013 – Kitka Goyol stands at the top of a small hill overlooking a vast expanse of inhospitable desert. The barren land is dotted with diggers and cranes at work. From this distance, they look like small toys. This place will be the Azraq refugee camp.
In Turkey, teachers learn how to work better with their Syrian refugee pupils
ISKENDERUN, Turkey, 11 July 2013 – In a large training room, an instructor asks a group of 200 people to hold a chickpea in their palms and to imagine that it is a tree.
In Domiz refugee camp, Iraq, a Syrian family makes the best of a terrible situation
DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq, 5 July 2013 – “In Syria,” Mahmoud said, his eyes watering with the memory, “we lived like kings and queens.” And then he fell silent.
Embracing the everyday, dreaming of the future
ZA’ATARI CAMP, Jordan, 3 July 2013 – As the sun rises upon the vast desert surrounding Za’atari camp, people wake to another intensely hot summer day. It is the second-largest refugee camp in the world, and for the 120,000 Syrians living here, it is a place to call home – at least for now.
Protecting children, in Domiz refugee camp, Iraq
DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq, 27 June 2013 – You drive over the mountains that surround Dohuk City, and Domiz refugee camp opens up before you – a community of 45,000 people that wasn’t there just a year ago.
Campaign to prevent disease as temperatures rise at Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan
AMMAN, Jordan, 24 June 2013 – The sweat running down Mohamed’s face reflects the intense summer sun that has descended on Jordan’s vast Za’atari refugee camp.
A space for adolescents, in the midst of conflict-ravaged Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 18 June 2013 – A recently rehabilitated centre in a relatively quiet neighbourhood in Homs City is abuzz.
UNICEF and sister agencies issue largest ever appeal to help Syrians
NEW YORK, 7 June 2013— As the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic continues to spiral out of control, UNICEF and its sister United Nations agencies have mounted the largest ever appeal for funds.
A perilous journey to school through Homs, Syrian Arab Rebublic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 5 June 2013 – The more than two-year conflict in Syria has long made it difficult to drop my children off at school. But, I never imagined that, one day, all the roads except one would be closed – and that it could keep my daughter from completing ninth grade. We had come too far to let that happen.
Syrian children with disabilities struggle with life in a refugee camp
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 29 May 2013 – Rania dreams of one day becoming a teacher. Every morning, her mother and brother wake up at dawn to help her get to school. Although it’s only a short walk, Rania is unable to make it on her own. White gravel surrounds the tents and caravans in the camp where they live, and Rania needs to be carried to the main road where her wheelchair will work.
With a rising refugee population, a camp at risk of disease
DOMIZ, Iraq, 22 May 2013 – The Domiz refugee camp, which sits about 60 kilometres from the Syrian border amidst an imposing mountain landscape, was originally built to accommodate 22,000 people. Today it is home to around 40,000 Syrian refugees.
Schools across Jordan provide hope for Syrian refugee children
IRBID, Jordan, 2 May 2013 – Eleven-year-old Hanin proudly arranges her artwork on the living room floor. Her drawings of brightly coloured flowers reflect happier times.
In Iraq, vaccination campaign reaches thousands of Syrian refugees
DOHUK, IRAQ, 29 April 2013 – “I have just taken my shots, and I did not cry!” says the girl to her brothers and sisters. She holds an ice cream in her hand.
In Jordan, Za'atari refugee camp hosts mass immunization campaign
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 25 April 2013 – As the sun rises over Za’atari refugee camp, gusts of wind blow sand high into the air. Families begin to emerge from between rows of tents that line the camp.
At a camp on the Syrian–Turkish border, talk of the past and present - and the future
BAB AL SALAMA, Syrian Arab Republic, 23 April 2013 – Last November, Bassam Guan, a 35-year-old father of four, left for work at a freezer plant in his hometown of Marea in the northern part of the Syrian Arab Republic. His family never saw him again. That afternoon, the plant was bombed by war planes. Mr. Guan and nine of his colleagues died in the explosion. Many more were wounded.
People of Cyprus bring relief - and fun - to Za'atari refugee camp, Jordan
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 22 April 2013 – There’s excitement in the air – hundreds of children are waiting for the official opening of Za’atari refugee camp’s fifth playground.
For young Syrian refugees in Jordan, photography is a record - and an outlet
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 18 April 2013 – At a water tank on the outskirts of Za’atari refugee camp, a couple of boys fill jerrycans with water. Crouching at their side with camera in hand is Amjad Belini. The 17-year-old is one of a group of boys and girls taking part in a three-month photography project managed by Save the Children in partnership with UNICEF.
With volunteers risking their safety, humanitarian work has become part of fabric of community in Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 8 April 2013 – During my recent mission to Homs, I met medics who work with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), as well as volunteers with major local NGOs, all of whom risk their lives to help people.
A place of sanctuary for children of Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 3 April 2013 – I did not quite know what to expect when I accompanied a UNICEF team driving through the streets of Homs.
Children's lives on hold, in the Syrian Arab Republic
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 2 April 2013 – “My 4-year-old sister couldn’t talk for a while after she witnessed our neighbourhood under attack,” says Siham*.
Children's health suffering, medical care insufficient, at camp sheltering Syrians
BAB AL SALAMA, Syrian Arab Republic, 28 March 2013 – In Bab al Salama camp, Khola Bakkor sits quietly in the tent her family have sheltered in for seven long months.
Children find a safe space to learn in conflict-torn Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 26 March 2013 – Homs has suffered some of the heaviest and most relentless fighting in the Syrian conflict. Many neighbourhoods have been damaged or destroyed, leaving at least 600,000 of the city’s residents in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In makeshift settlements in Lebanon, UNICEF delivers essential supplies to Syrian refugee children
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 25 March 2013 – Children run barefoot across the sharp rocks, broken glass and dirt, as we offload boxes of donated new shoes in the bitter wind.
Hossam and Shimaa, both 12, talk about how crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic has torn their lives apart
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 13 March 2013 – Hossam, 12, lives in a school building. “I have been living here with my father, my stepmother, my two siblings and step-sister for one year. We also have here with us my grandfather, and my uncle and my aunt’s families,” he says.
Burned in an attack and now in exile in Lebanon, Adnan is one of the children at the heart of the Syrian crisis
AKKAR region, Lebanon, 13 March 2013 – When their home in Hama, western Syrian Arab Republic, was hit by a rocket, Adnan’s parents could not manage to take their son out in time. “He did not stay that long in the fire. Not more than two minutes. But the fire was very harsh on him,” his father recalls.
Remedial classes help displaced children in Homs, Syrian Arab Republic, continue their education
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 12 March 2013 – Syrian students in winter sweaters sit in a classroom decorated with colourful drawings, listening intently to their enthusiastic young teacher explain Arabic grammar.
Two years into conflict, Syrian Arab Republic is on the verge of losing a generation to violence
NEW YORK, United States of America, 12 March 2013 – For the past two years, the world has seen crisis explode in the Syrian Arab Republic. Twenty-four months of chaos and conflict have cost the country thousands of lives, many of them children.
Mothers of Za'atari camp, Jordan
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 28 February 2013 – Every day, an average of eight children are born as refugees in Za’atari, the largest camp of the Syrian crisis, located approximately 12 km from the border. It has become home to tens of thousands of Syrians.
After winter break and heavy rains, back to school at Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 27 February 2013 – It’s back to school for thousands of Syrian children at Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan.
UNICEF officer takes part in recent mission delivering critical relief supplies to displaced people in northwestern Syria
Syrian Arab Republic, 22 February 2013 - A few days ago, I took part in a joint UN mission to Karameh, in Syria’s north-western Idleb Province, to deliver much needed relief supplies to thousands of displaced people.
Protecting separated and unaccompanied Syrian refugee children in Jordan
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 19 February 2013 – As the Syrian conflict continues unabated, with 1,850 people crossing into Jordan every day, a small but regular flow of refugees are unaccompanied and separated children.
16-year-old Syrian refugee describes living in Akcakale camp in Turkey
AKCAKALE CAMP, Turkey, 14 February 2013-It was three in the morning when Hala, age 16, and her family fled their home in Syria for Akcakale refugee camp in Turkey. The camp, situated in Sanliurfa, is one of 15 camps built by the government of Turkey for Syrian families seeking refuge from the conflict in their homeland.
UNICEF officer shares the story of one young girl in Tartous, Syrian Arab Republic
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 February 2013 - During my recent mission to Tartous, where approximately 200,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance, I went to assist with the distribution of family hygiene kits to affected families. Distribution was implemented by UNICEF’s local partner Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).
Field diary: In Syrian Arab Republic, pockets of hope in a world of chaos
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 11 February 2013 – I have just returned from Homs, where I stayed for one month as part of a mission to assess the humanitarian situation in the governorate. We have also worked to review humanitarian programmes and to strengthen and build our relationship with local partners for expanding our work.
Dire situation for children in the Syrian Arab Republic - even where there is no fighting
AMMAN, Jordan, 25 January 2013 – We spoke with UNICEF Regional Emergency Adviser Bastien Vigneau during his mission to Tartous, a key port city in the Syrian Arab Republic, on the Mediterranean Sea.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow asks the world to step up for Syrian refugees
Lebanon, 16 January 2013 – Lebanese communities who have taken Syrian refugees into their homes are setting an example of selflessness and community spirit that the world must match, says UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow.
Field diary: Impressions from the battered war zone of Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 15 January 2013 – Homs has been the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic’s 22-month conflict, with hundreds of thousands of residents displaced.
Syrian refugees share their stories with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow during her visit to Lebanon
Wadi Khaled, Lebanon – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow today visited some of the over 200,000 Syrian refugees who have been registered or are awaiting registration in Lebanon.
Syrian refugee children adjust to their new Lebanese schools
SIDON and BAALBECK, Lebanon, 8 January 2013 - Abdullah says that hygiene issues forced him to leave his country. At least, this version of his family’s flight is the one he prefers.
In Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, working with children who have lived through war
AMMAN, Jordan, 7 January 2013 - Jane MacPhail shows me a mountain of drawings done by Syrian refugee children at the camp. We go through them together, and I notice that they are mostly happy images with no guns, tanks or blood.
In Jordan, a campaign to vaccinate against polio and measles reaches 132,000 children
AMMAN, Jordan, 2 January 2013 – According to the Ministry of Health, more than 132,000 children have been vaccinated against measles and polio in northern Jordan as part of a joint UNICEF and Ministry of Health vaccination campaign.
A 'winterization' programme targets Syrian refugees caught in the clutches of brutal weather in Lebanon
BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON, 21 December 2012 - In Dalhamieh, a small village in the Bekaa Valley, Syrian refugees are streaming into an informal camp, where their makeshift tents multiply daily. As of 19 December, this informal camp had sheltered about 698 refugees, of whom 86 were children under 2 years old.
Syrian refugee children are dying, they are hurt and they need healing, says UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore
NEW YORK, United States of America, 19 December 2012 – The number of Syrian refugees has risen to over half a million. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore has made an urgent plea for additional humanitarian assistance for women and children who have had to flee their homes – especially as winter has presented even more challenges.
In Jordan, young Syrian refugees meet to discuss their concerns and receive guidance and support
AMMAN, Jordan, 13 December 2012 - Rahaf, 19, was studying to be a doctor in the Syrian Arab Republic before she fled to Jordan one month ago. She and her family were reluctant to leave their home in Dera’a until a bomb blast killed her two sisters and injured her oldest brother. “After that, my parents saw there was nothing to do but get away,” she says.
Field Diary: Parents in the Syrian Arab Republic brave fighting to get their children vaccinated
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 6 December 2012 - At the vaccination clinics I visited, the sounds of children crying after their injections mixed with the explosions of gunshots and shelling in the streets outside.
In Jordan, Syrian refugee children learn how to recover from a violent past
MAFRAQ, Jordan, 7 November 2012 - When Syrian refugee children show UNICEF child protection worker Jane MacPhail pictures they have drawn of revenge and violence, she knows what to say.
At Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, UNICEF supports Syrian refugee families
AMMAN, Jordan, 7 November 2012 - As the canvas roof of her family’s tent flaps in the wind, Fatma* holds her son close, gently brushing dust from his face.
In Lebanon, UNICEF and partners race to provide clean drinking water and prevent disease
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, 23 October 2012 – The large chalkboard is a reminder that the crowded shelter housing Zaineb, her family and more than a hundred other Syrian refugees is actually a school.
At Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, as a million litres of clean water arrive each day, focus turns to conservation and future supply of water
AMMAN, Jordan, 22 October 2012 – The Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan is a safe haven for almost 30,000 refugees who have fled conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic. Hundreds of people arrive daily.
In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees fleeing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic face new challenges
BEIRUT, Lebanon, 16 October 2012 - Ten-year-old Ahmed* and his family have come to Lebanon from a Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian Arab Republic. They fled their camp near Damascus when fighting intensified. One day, Ahmed’s 12-year-old sister Mona had stumbled across a bloody corpse close to their home.
In Jordan, huge water delivery and testing operation meets the life-saving water and sanitation needs of Syrian refugees
MAFRAQ, Jordan, 10 October 2012 - Massive water trucks trundle slowly through Za’atari refugee camp, filling the tanks that supply drinking taps and latrine and shower blocks.
In Jordan, Syrian refugee children continue education as first school opens at Za’atari refugee camp
MAFRAQ, Jordan, 8 October 2012 – “I’m very happy that school has started,” says Tabark, 12, who is in her fifth day of class at Za’atari refugee camp’s new emergency school. “I enjoy Arabic and writing the most. I would like to be an Arabic teacher.”
In Lebanon, Child Friendly Spaces provide a safe environment of learning and play for Syrian refugee children
TRIPOLI, Lebanon, 25 September 2012 – “When my school was destroyed, my dream of becoming a doctor was destroyed,”says Asu*, 11. He is sitting in the courtyard of the Wadi Annakhle public school, outside Tripoli, which is housing Syrian refugees. He looks down. “There was a lot of shooting and bombs where we lived in Syria, and even the mosque was destroyed. It was terrible, and I saw homeless children in the streets, children who didn’t have food.”
As population in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan soars, focus is on needs of children
AMMAN, Jordan, 11 September 2012 - Maradi pushes her 2 1/2-year-old son Safwan on a swing while holding her 4-month-old daughter Sofian. Safwan’s twin brother Omran is back in their tent with Maradi’s husband.
Amidst talk of relocation, internally displaced children express themselves through recreational activities
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 5 September 2012 - “Where we will be taken?” “Where are they going to put us?” “What will happen to us?” Such are the concerns of internally displaced persons housed in schools in the Syrian Arab Republic. As the school year approaches, rumours have spread that the families will be moved.
Syrian refugees struggle to adapt to new surroundings in Za’atari camp
ZA'ATARI, Jordan, 17 August - The number of Syrian refugees crossing to Jordan is rising. To date, more than 7,000 people live in the tented Za’atari camp in Mafraq, north of Jordan. They are battered with frequent sand storms, hot weather and lack of natural shade.
Battling dust storms and the burning desert sun to meet the most basic need of the displaced - water
Za’atari, Jordan, August 17, 2012 - Eleven year old Abdullah stares silently at his dust covered toes under the scorching afternoon sun in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp.
UNICEF and partners continue to provide humanitarian assistance for Syrian children and families in Jordan
AMMAN, Jordan, 15 August 2012 – Umm Ghassan sat inside her tent in Za’atari camp, holding her two-year-old grandchild. She was waiting for the child’s siblings and mother, who had gone to fetch the water necessary to meet the family’s drinking and washing needs.
Education of water rationing for Syrian refugees in Jordan
RAMTHA, Jordan, 5 August 2012 - As Syrians pour into Jordan, work is underway not only to provide essential safe water and sanitation, but to make sure the water lasts. Jordan is the fourth most water scarce country in the world and the influx of people is putting a strain on an already limited water supply.
Child Friendly Spaces Restore Normalcy in Syrian Children’s Lives
HERMEL, Lebanon, 20 July 2012 – 13-year-old Hiba* has a determination rarely seen in a child of that age. “I want to go back home, I loved it back there in Syria,” she says. “For now, I want to do French classes here to be able to go to school. I have lost one year. I do not want to lose another one.” Her classroom in Syria was destroyed by a bomb, an act she witnessed, but she remains strong and looks to the future. “This is all I wish for - to go back to school.”
In Syria, Schools Become Homes and Support Centers
DAMASCUS, Syria, 2 Aug, 2012 - In Damascus, Aleppo and other cities in Syria, schools are hosting internally displaced persons who had to flee neighbourhoods affected by shelling and violence. According to the Ministry of Education, 307 schools today are hosting internally displaced persons. Residents vary from 50 in a small school to more than 400 in big schools.
Ordinary citizens pitch in to assist people displaced by the violence in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 27 July 2012 – These have been difficult times for everyone in Damascus. Thousands of people have had to leave their homes to seek refuge in safer areas, often in schools and mosques. By the weekend, dozens of schools in and around Damascus were full of displaced families.
In Lebanon, summer camp offers safety, education and care for Syrian refugee children and marginalized Lebanese children
BEQAA VALLEY, Syria, 27 July 2012 – “Why [do] all beautiful things have an end?” said 8-year-old Chadi* at the end of a five-week summer camp for Syrian refugee children and marginalized Lebanese children. “I was so happy here; I played, learned and made so many friends.” The camp, organized by UNICEF and the Lebanese nongovernmental organization IQRA’ Association, offered a safe place for these children to learn, play and receive psychosocial support.
Aid workers in Jordan race to meet the needs of Syrian refugee families
AL MAFRAQ, Jordan, 9 July 2012 – Funnels of dust race like miniature tornadoes at this former airfield near the town of Al Mafraq, in Jordan’s north.
UNICEF-supported summer camps are helping Syrian and Lebanese children integrate into public schools in Lebanon
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, 6 July 2012 – “I was here at seven this morning because I did not want to be late for class,” said 8-year-old Razan*, looking up from her drawing book. “Here we get to read stories and learn new words, and sing and dance.”
Summer camps help Syrian refugee children recovery, regain missed education
AMMAN, Jordan, 5 July 2012 – At a large primary school on the outskirts of the capital Amman, 11-year-old Basma* and her 7-year-old sister are among around 180 children, most of them Syrian refugees, taking part in a summer camp.
In Jordan, Syrian children are on the road to recovery after fleeing ongoing violence in their country
RAMTHA, Jordan, 19 June 2012 – Reem* and her six children fled their home in southern Syria in February after her husband Abood* was abducted by armed men. The children were between ages 5 and 18. “The children were scared and insecure when we first came to Jordan,” Reem said. “When they saw cars [like the one that took their father], they would start screaming.”
In Jordan, Syrian refugee children are learning to cope with the violence they’ve witnessed
MAFRAQ/AMMAN, Jordan, 4 June 2012 – On their way to school in Homs last year, 9-year-old twins Seema* and Nour* saw dead bodies in the street.
In southern Turkey, Syrian refugee children are caught between a harrowing past and an uncertain future
HATAY, Turkey, 10 May 2012 – In a quiet house outside Antakya in southern Turkey, parents fleeing 14 months of violence in Syria have set up a makeshift school for their children. The sounds of lessons in maths, English, Turkish and the Koran ring through the living rooms and bedrooms, and the garden has become a lively playground.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon cope with hardships, fear for their families at home
AL FAQIHA, Lebanon, 7 May 2012 – The little hilltop town of Al Faqiha is located in one of the more remote corners of the Bekaa Valley, a fertile swath of land along Lebanon’s eastern frontier. It’s also the region closest to Syria, Lebanon’s troubled neighbour, making it a natural refuge for Syrian families seeking sanctuary from the unrest in their homeland.
UNICEF supports Syrian refugees seeking safety in Lebanon
RAMEH, Lebanon, 24 April 2012 – With a sigh, Siham* glances around the small room that is now home to her, her husband and their five children.
Syrian children in Lebanon pick up the pieces of the educations they left behind
MASHTA EL HAMMOUD, Lebanon, 17 April 2012 – Stepping off their minibus in the mountain village of Mashta el Hammoud, in northern Wadi Khaled, a group of children scampers up the stone steps to their classrooms. While the prospect of maths and Arabic classes may not seem attractive, there’s no mistaking these youngsters’ eagerness for the afternoon that lies ahead.
In Jordan, UNICEF-supported activities help Syrian refugee children recover from the conflict
MA’AN, Jordan, 22 March 2012 – Peering intently at the scrap of pink material in her hands, 12-year-old Omaima* is a picture of concentration. Around her, about 20 other girls are busily wielding needles and thread and following the instructions of their teacher.
In Jordan, UNICEF and partners offer services to help refugee children recover from conflict in Syria
MA’AN, Jordan, 8 March 2012 – On a cold February day, Syrian refugee children and their parents gathered at the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) Centre, a UNICEF partner, in the southern Jordanian town of Ma’an.
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on Syria following the report of the independent international commission of inquiry
NEW YORK, USA, 23 February 2012 – “UNICEF is appalled by the impact on children of the escalating violence in Syria.
Displaced Syrian children in Jordan show signs of distress
RAMTHA, Jordan, 23 December 2011 – As I pull out my camera, Salwa looks at me and blurts out, “No, no pictures, please. Otherwise the police will slaughter us.” She is 5 years old.
Syria launches national ‘catch-up’ immunization drive amid continued unrest
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 17 October 2011- When the civil unrest began in Syria last march, the small agricultural town of Daraya was one of the first to be impacted. Due to the resulting insecurity, access to the health centers where routine immunization was usually provided became severely limited.
School clubs provide normalcy for children affected by unrest in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 6 September 2011 – Civil unrest has disrupted normal life in Syria since mid-March, taking a serious emotional toll on children, in particular. Between witnessing violence and having their family lives and routines upended, children are paying a heavy price.