UNICEF: Nearly One Million Children Orphaned by War in Syria
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that an estimated one million Syrian children have lost one or both parents since 2011 when the Assad regime declared war on the Syrian people.
The UN agency described the figure as disastrous in all senses, noting that before 2011 Syria had a population of about 25 million people, one-third of them were children. It said that about 10% of Syrian children have lost one or both parents.
Syria is now one of the most dangerous regions in the world for children, UNICEF said in a special study. It noted that thousands of children have lost their lives, brothers, sisters, friends, caregivers, and homes.
The study indicated that tens of thousands of Syrian children suffer permanent disabilities, while hundreds of thousands more are now trapped in the besieged areas. Moreover, out of around one million children who fled to neighboring countries, some 8,000 were unaccompanied.
A study conducted in early September indicated that about 800,000 Syrian children were orphaned by the war and currently live either inside Syria or in neighboring countries. Only few of these orphans receive the appropriate care.
According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, around 82,000 Syrian families lost their breadwinners, while around 2,300 families lost their mothers. Humanitarian organizations said that 90 percent of Syrian orphans are not sponsored.
Regional and international humanitarian organizations have expressed concern that a large proportion of orphaned children or unaccompanied refugee children are at risk of human trafficking, organ harvesting, slavery and be subjected to violence. They also warned of worsening psychological crises.
The United Nations on Thursday warned of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in besieged areas in Syria as the harsh winter is coming and of its impact on children. UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland warned that this winter “is going to be among the toughest.”
The Syrian Coalition called upon the international community and organizations concerned with the rights of children, especially the UN Security Council, to shoulder their responsibilities towards the ongoing suffering of Syrian children. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)