Tens of thousands of children in grave danger as violence escalates in northwest Syria

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

30 May 2019

NEW YORK, 30 May 2019 – “Tens of thousands of children in northwest Syria are at imminent risk of injury, death and displacement because of a significant escalation in fighting. Violence has intensified over the past few days, especially in villages in northern Hama and southern Idleb.

“Many families have been driven from their homes again, while others are unable to move to safer areas, hemmed in by the fighting.     

“This latest escalation follows months of rising violence in the area which has reportedly left at least 134 children dead and more than 125,000 displaced since the start of the year. Nearly 30 hospitals have come under attack and the spike in violence has forced some of UNICEF’s healthcare partners to suspend their lifesaving operations. Approximately 43,000 children are now out of school and final exams in parts of Idlib have been postponed, affecting the education of 400,000 students.

“UNICEF’s partners are on the ground in the northwest, working to reach children and families with mobile health clinics, immunization and nutrition services, psychosocial support and water and sanitation supplies. But these are quick fixes that can go only so far in mitigating the humanitarian fallout from such brutal and gratuitous violence.

“Children bear no responsibility for this war, yet they suffer its carnage and consequences more than anyone.

“Parties to the conflict in the northwest and across Syria should make every effort to protect children and the infrastructure they depend on, including hospitals and schools. Parties and those who have influence over them should also forge a comprehensive and lasting peace that finally brings this war to an end – for the sake of Syria’s children and the very future of the country and the region.”  

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