Syria: children are the main victims of the ten-year conflict

Internally displaced Syrians children at a refugee camp in Atmeh, Syria Internally displaced Syrians children at a refugee camp in Atmeh, Syria Photo by Joel Carrillet on iStock

19 May 2021

Syrian children are suffering from grave violations because of the protracted and high-intensity nature of the conflict. 

According to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s third report on the Syrian situation, millions of children suffered violations in the ongoing ten-year conflict. Currently, more than 4,724 grave violations have been reported and over 32 parties to the conflict, including the terrorist groups of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, have been found responsible. Among such violations, recruitment, killing and maiming of children were the most prevalent. As a result, children are constantly exposed to violence, violations and abuse of their fundamental rights. 

Between July 2018 and June 2020, more than 2,700 children were maimed or killed by explosive remnants of war, airstrikes and indiscriminate shelling. Moreover, more than 1,400 children were recruited and trained in Syria to then be trafficked as combatants into Libya where some have been detained because of their link with the parties to the conflict. Schools and hospitals have also been objects of frequent attacks, resulting in 236 assaults on classrooms and 135 on medical facilities, which obstructed access to education and health assistance to many children. 

 Another concerning humanitarian situation is that of refugee camps, especially al-Hol and al-Roj camps that host more than 65,000 Syrians, most of which are women and children. Among these children, more than 960 are unaccompanied and separated, thus they need assistance for their reintegration, access to health and livelihoods. As a result, all parties to the conflict should enforce international humanitarian law and human rights law, to grant protection to children in Syria and to ensure that their well-being is included in the ongoing peace process discussions. 

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Author: Eleonora Gonnelli; Editor: Carla Leonetti

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