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More than 40,000 children in the line of fire in Ar-Raqqa, Syria, as fighting intensifies

Statement attributable to Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa Region

© UNICEF/UN066042/Souleiman
On 18 May 2017 in Al-Tabqa city in the Syrian Arab Republic, Hasan, 12 (red shirt) and his friends walk past a destroyed car. He and his family have been uprooted twice due to violence, forcing him to drop out of school .

DAMASCUS/AMMAN/GENEVA/NEW YORK, 9 June 2017- “Heavy violence in the Syrian city of Ar-Raqqa is threatening the lives of more than 40,000 children who remain trapped in extremely dangerous conditions. UNICEF has received alarming reports that at least 25 children have been killed and scores injured in the latest violence in Ar-Raqqa city.

“Hospitals and schools have reportedly come under attack. Those attempting to flee are at the danger of getting killed or injured.

“Children are being deprived of the most basic and life-saving necessities; little aid has reached Ar-Raqqa since 2013 due to violence and access restrictions.

“The fighting has resulted in massive displacement in and around the city, with some 80,000 children now internally displaced and living in temporary shelters and camps. 

“UNICEF calls on all parties to protect children inside Ar-Raqqa, provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city and grant a protected environment to civilians who fled the city.”

Notes to editors:

Videos and photos are available here

UNICEF is responding to the immediate needs of children and families who have fled the violence and sought safety in camps and informal settlements:

• Trucking 975,000 litres of water daily to around 120,000 internally displaced people in camps in the Raqqa and Hassakeh governorates.
• Immunizing 58,100 children under the age of 5 against polio and other diseases.
• Distributing 11,260 school bags to children in camps and host communities in northern Raqqa and setting up learning spaces for 3,100 children.
• Distributing clothing for children and providing emergency psychosocial support to help children cope with the trauma they have faced.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org/syriancrisis Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For more information please contact:
Juliette Touma, jtouma@unicef.org, +962-79-867-4628
Tamara Kummer, tkummer@unicef.org, +972-79-7588-550
Najwa Mekki, nmekki@unicef.org +1 917 209 1804




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