AMMAN, 9 August 2018 - “I can’t describe to you what’s happening here. We don’t have enough water or food and we live in fear,” says 12-year-old Rand in Idlib as she breaks into tears.
There are more than 1 million children like Rand across Idlib: exhausted of war and fearful of uncertainty, violence and further displacement. Many children were forced to flee, some up to seven times. Most now live in overcrowded camps and shelters in rural areas. Food, water and medicine are in extremely short supply. Any further escalation in violence will have catastrophic consequences on the province which is host to one of the largest communities of internally displaced people in Syria.
Sara is 14. She says that the precious time she spends at school has become her only refuge: “I go to school only once or twice a week, all the windows at school are shattered and there’s no clean water."
As drums for more violence continue to beat, children in Idlib will likely be the first and most to suffer as in other parts of the country.
“Children in Syria told UNICEF they’ve had enough. We urge those fighting, those who have influence over them and those involved in the political process to prioritise children above any other consideration,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “The children of Syria cannot and should not endure another wave of violence, nor another fierce battle and certainly not more killing."
For Sara and Rand and the children of Syria everywhere, UNICEF pleads to prioritise children and their needs and to put -for once- children over political, military and strategic gains and agendas. The fate of children and Syria’s future depend on that.