Syrian Children Enduring Siege Conditions, Save the Children Warns, as the One-Millionth Child Refugee is Announced

Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:01pm EDT

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Syrian Children Enduring Siege Conditions, Save the Children Warns, as the One-Millionth Child Refugee is Announced

Children trapped amid fighting in Syria are being killed, maimed, and denied access to food and medicine as the number of child refugees fleeing the civil war tops one million, Save the Children said today.

Rasha*, 1, at her home in an unfinished building in Lebanon, near the Syrian border. Jonathan Hyams/ ...

Rasha*, 1, at her home in an unfinished building in Lebanon, near the Syrian border. Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children. *Names have been changed to protect identities. (Photo: Business Wire)

The aid agency has spoken to families trapped by some of the worst violence yet seen in the two-and-a-half year conflict. They tell of a desperate struggle to survive, living under bombardment, the threat of violence and ever dwindling supplies as the war chokes Syrian cities.

Outside Syria, the number of refugees forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods and settle in neighbouring countries has exploded in 2013, and has seen a tenfold increase since the same day in 2012.

Save the Children Regional Director for the Middle East Roger Hearn said: “It is appalling that the world has stood and watched as one million children have been forced from their country, terrified, traumatised and in some cases orphaned.

“This is not a crisis we can sit out; it is not going away. The refugee disaster the war in Syria has created is getting far worse, far faster than the world can cope with. It is now critically important world leaders secure humanitarian access across Syria.

“At least 7,000 children are dead and one million have been exiled as a result of this war. How many more grim milestones must the world witness before these horrors can be ended?”

Countries with large refugee populations are struggling to cope with the influx, and close to two-thirds of funding pledged to help countries deal with the refugee crisis has yet to materialize. In the last week alone, close to 30,000 refugees have fled Syria for northern Iraq.

More than half of all refugees affected by the war are children, and they remain the most vulnerable group, even after their families have escaped the imminent threat of death inside Syria.

The United Nations estimates more than 7,000 children have been killed in the war so far – a number likely to be far higher as most of Syria’s dead are registered without their age.

Without immediate humanitarian access to Syria, Save the Children is gravely concerned the numbers of child refugees will continue to rise as conditions worsen.

Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Save the Children
Francine Uenuma, 202-640-6810
202-450-9153 (M)

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