Six and a half years of conflict have robbed millions of Syrian children of their childhood and inflicted untold suffering on them, a senior United Nations official said on Friday, urging parties to the conflict to stop the violence and live up to their legal obligations to children.
“The impact of war on children across Syria continues to be staggering. Ongoing and heavy fighting has displaced thousands of families from Raqqa city and Deir-ez-Zor,” said Fran Equiza, the UNICEF Representative in Syria in a statement.
Following a visit to three IDPs camps in northern Syria where he met displaced children from Raqqa and Deir el-Zour, Equiza said that he was “overwhelmed by the profoundly traumatising experiences these children have been through.”
“They have endured brutal violence, lost friends and family members. They are terrified, yet hopeful,” the UN official added.
“According to reports UNICEF is receiving from inside Raqqa city, several thousand children continue to be trapped in the city, caught in the direct line of fire,” the statement added.
Equiza went on: “With no access for humanitarian agencies, the city is completely cut off from lifesaving assistance. Children and families have little or no safe water while food supplies are running out fast.”
On Thursday, Jan Egeland, the UN humanitarian adviser on Syria, urged the international community to do whatever is needed to allow citizens to flee from Raqqa, saying that right now, there is “no worse place on earth” than the parts of the city that are still being held by the ISIS extremist group. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)