Under Siege the devastating impact on children of three years of conflict
Syria’s social fabric is being systematically torn apart. An estimated three million buildings have been destroyed, along with much of the country’s critical infrastructure. More than six million people have been displaced inside the country, meaning that more than a third of all Syrian children are no longer living in their own homes or communities. For younger children, the experience of conflict has become so “normal” that their pre-war lives are a distant memory Refugee children are suffering too. One in 10 children – over 1.2 million – have fled the country to become refugees in neighbouring countries. And these numbers are rising every day. By the end of January 2014, 37,498 Syrian children had been born as refugees. Amid all this, children show tremendous courage, resilience and compassion. The words of individual children that punctuate this report are testament to that. Despite losing family members; despite physical injury; despite watching their homes and communities being destroyed; despite the unspoken fears they carry inside them, Syria’s children still believe that they canrecover their childhood dreams – and that their country can recover too.Older children have taken the place of teachers, caregivers and counselors for friends and younger siblings. Children in host communities have taken on the task of walking refugees to school and shielding them from bullies. But this resilience and fortitude is not limitless. A narrow window of opportunity remains to protect this brutalized generation. Another year of conflict and suffering would likely push Syrian children beyond the point of no return. With every month that passes, their chances of recovering their stolen potential – and rebuilding their futures -- dwindle.