Syrian children are pictured at a refugee camp in the village of Mhammara in Lebanon.
NEW YORK: At least 1,106 children were killed in Syria in 2018, the deadliest year for children in eight years since the ongoing war began in the country, the Unicef said on Monday.
Unicef Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said that these were verified figures, but the numbers were “likely much higher,” and called for support for the donors’ conference in Brussels which starts on Tuesday, reports Efe news.
“Today, there exists an alarming misconception that the conflict in Syria is drawing quickly to a close - it is not. Children in parts of the country remain in as much danger as at any other time during the eight-year conflict,” she said.
Unicef points out that mine contamination is the leading cause of child casualties in Syria and unexploded ordnance accounted for 434 deaths and injuries last year, while there were a record number of attacks on education and health institutions, 262 in total.
Fore said that she was “particularly concerned about the situation in Idlib where violence has reportedly killed 59 children in the past few weeks alone”.
She noted that children and families “in no man’s lands continue to live in limbo” and in Rukban, near the Jordanian border, their situation “continues to be desperate, with limited access to food, water, shelter, health care and education.”
She also warned of worsening conditions in the Al Hol camp, which is home to more than 65,000 people, of whom some 240 were unaccompanied or separated children.
“Since January this year, nearly 60 children reportedly died while making the 300-km trek from Baghouz to the camp,” Unicef said.
The UN agency also draws attention to the future of children of foreign fighters in Syria, which “remains unclear,” and calls on member states to take responsibility for those children who are their citizens or descendants of their nationals, and to take measures to prevent them from becoming stateless.
As Syria faces its ninth year of war, Unicef “again reminds parties to the conflict and the global community that it is the country’s children who have suffered most and have the most to lose. Each day the conflict continues is another day stolen from their childhood.”
Unicef also warned on Monday that children raised in the Daesh group’s “caliphate” should not be treated as terrorists.