The Situation of Children in Syria

The Situation of Children in Syria

a boy holds a UNICEF assistance boxs

Syria’s nearly seven-year conflict continued unabated, with all parties to the conflict intensifying military operations in Idleb, Hama, Eastern Ghouta and in the Northeast of the country. This resulted in thousands of civilian deaths, the destruction of infrastructure as well as continued mass displacement.

a woman holds a UNICEF assistance box
UNICEF / Syria 2018 / Delil Souleiman
On 3 August, UNICEF delivered much-needed hygiene supplies, nutrtional supplements, summer clothes, school bags and stationery to families who have returned to their homes in the city of Tabqah in Raqqa, following respite in violence.
a boy holds a UNICEF assistant box
UNICEF / Syria 2016 / Basma Ourfali
Mustafa, 10, carries the winter clothes he receives in a local NGO center in Aleppo city.

Life-saving interventions

By the end of 2017, an estimated 417,000 civilians, half of whom were children, were living under siege and some 2.5 million civilians - 70 per cent of whom are women and children - in hard to reach areas. UNICEF focused on responding to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable populations with life-saving interventions, especially in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, child protection and education.

In addition to developing and implementing more sustainable resilience-building interventions in education, youth and adolescent programming and social protection through a diversified array of partners.

a water tank and children gathered around
UNICEF / Syria 2017 / Muhannad Al-Asadi
Water truck comes to fill in the water tank in Anas bin Malek School in Damascus while the second shift of students starts entering the school. UNICEF has been providing daily water trucking for 30,000 children in 84 schools in Damascus as part of its emergency response to the water crisis in Damascus that started around 22 December 2016.
a boy plays with hula hoop
UNICEF / Syria 2016 / Khuder Issa
Abodu, 1 year and a half, plays with children in Shafii shelter where she was displaced with her family two months ago.

In terms of emergency interventions UNICEF Syria participated in 49 Inter-agency convoys delivering humanitarian assistance to nearly 500,000 including an estimated 215,000 children in hard-to-reach and besieged areas mainly in Northern Hama and Eastern Ghouta. Through 14 inter-agency airdrops, UNICEF delivered life-saving assistance to an estimated 30,000 people in need in Deir-ez-Zor.

two boys in front of UNICEF boxes
UNICEF / Syria 2017 / Amer Almuhibany
Jihad and Muhammad, both nine year old and close friends, stand near a truck that carries UNICEF humanitarian aid to the besieged east Harasta in Rural Damascus on 19 June 2017. “I wonder what is inside the box,” Jihad asks referring to the piles of UNICEF boxes inside a truck. When he was told the boxes contain summer clothes, Jihad’s face was lit with a radiant smile “Oh, then will we get clothes for Eid?” he asked.
a boy holds a UNICEF assistant box
UNICEF/ Syria 2017/ Delil Souleiman
Ahmed, 10, is carrying a family hygiene kit to his family. Ahmed fled from home in Qadisiya farm with his family of 6 because of battles and falling mortars on their village. “We don’t have a tent. And there are no games for children in the camp. I miss my cousins. They had come to our home to play together” said Ahmed who dropped out of school when he was in 2nd grade. “I remember well my friends Waheed and Emad” added Ahmed.

Water and sanitation response

Of particular importance were water-related interventions delivering access to drinkable water to approximately 3.2 million people through continued water trucking and the setting-up and rehabilitating of WASH facilities in areas of recent massive displacement. Meanwhile, sustained access to drinking water and sanitation was ensured to almost 5.4 million people through the rehabilitation of the water and sewage networks, water pumping stations, and the equipping and rehabilitating of wells in 11 out of 14 governorates.

children running next to water tankers
UNICEF / Syria 2017 / Delil Souleiman
UNICEF is trucking 600,000 liters of safe drinking water every day to families living in the Karama camp where an estimated 40,000 people currently live.
a boy drinks water from tap
UNICEF / Syria 2017 / Delil Souleiman
Mohammad, 13, arrived with his parents and six siblings in Karama camp three weeks ago fleeing intensified fighting in the area around their hometown. “It’s very cold at night, (in the camp) we’re in the middle of the desert and we couldn’t even bring blankets,” said Mohammad. “There are also scorpions around so we are always afraid.”

Social protection scheme

Furthermore, cash-based programmes were expanded to include a social protection scheme targeting children with disabilities and their families (coupling cash transfers with case management) and seed funding programmes targeting young people.

UNICEF Syria also supported 2.1 million children in formal and informal education through various programmes including the Back to Learning Campaign, teachers’ professional development programmes, provision of teaching learning materials and provision of text books in schools. UNICEF also supported the inventory and renewal of cold-chain system, to ensure the safety of vaccines and effective immunization services in the country.