Seeking safety, clean water and shelter in northeast Syria

UNICEF is working through partners to help children displaced by recent violence.

By Delil Souleimain, Masoud Hasan and Adrian Brune
24 October 2019

The Syrian crisis remains first and foremost a protection crisis: last year was the deadliest single year for children since the start of the war. But the escalation of fighting in the northeast of the country since early October 2019 is a stark reminder of just how severe and far-reaching the impact has been on an estimated 5 million children across the country.

The physical and psychological toll on children of years of violence has been enormous and devastating. But as the violence escalated in recent weeks, UNICEF teams have been working to assist the estimated 80,000 children displaced since early October. From providing water, ready-to-eat food, and hygiene kits, to vaccinations against polio and measles, UNICEF and partners are working to protect children, to help them cope with the impact of the conflict, and ultimately to make it possible for them to resume their childhoods.

 

UNICEF/UNI214010/Souleimain/AFP-Services
UNICEF/UNI214010/Souleimain/AFP-Services

A girl cries upon her arrival in Hassakeh city, in the far northeastern corner of Syria, after fleeing her hometown on the Turkish border. She is one of the at least 165,000 people displaced by the recent violence. UNICEF’s partners have begun on-the-ground psychosocial support in the area for children like her.

 

UNICEF/UNI214012/Souleimain/AFP-Services
UNICEF/UNI214012/Souleimain/AFP-Services

Two mothers and their children eat nutritional biscuits and consume special rehydration drinks after fleeing to Hassakeh city. Many of those arriving in the city have sought shelter with relatives, friends and host communities – some locations have been converted to shelters. But tens of thousands more could need humanitarian assistance as a result of ongoing violence.

 

UNICEF/UNI214262/Souleiman
UNICEF/UNI214262/Souleiman

A woman and her children seek safety underneath a large tractor trailer bed in Tal Tamer in northeast Syria, 75 kilometres southeast of Ras al-Ain, one of the areas worst-affected by the recent escalation in violence. The violence forced UNICEF’s partners in Ras al-Ain to halt most operations in the area.

 

UNICEF/UNI217691/Hasan
UNICEF/UNI217691/Hasan

Two men fill up a tank with fresh water to take back to their families at shelters for internally displaced persons in Tal Tamer. For six days, UNICEF’s partners have trucked in around 95,000 litres of water daily to 12 tanks in towns that were affected by damage to the Allouk water distribution station. The station, which provides water for nearly 400,000 people including many children, stopped working after heavy fighting damaged the two main electricity lines supplying power to it.

 

UNICEF/UNI217694/Hasan
UNICEF/UNI217694/Hasan

Two young children in Tal Tamer wait to fill up a bucket and bottles with water trucked in from surrounding areas. Even before the recent escalation in violence, years of conflict left millions of Syrians struggling to access clean water.

 

UNICEF/UNI217692/Hasan
UNICEF/UNI217692/Hasan

Several children and families carry buckets of fresh water back to their shelter in Tal Tamer. At least 165,000 people are estimated to have been displaced in the recent violence. For many, this is not the first time they have had to flee since the conflict began more than eight years ago.