More than 80% of Syrian children harmed by war — UNICEF

More than 80 percent of Syria’s children have been harmed by the country’s conflict, including growing numbers of those who were forced to work, join armed groups or marry young because of widening poverty, according to figures released by the UN children’s funds marking five years since the start of the conflict.

Peter Salama, the agency’s regional chief, calls on donor countries to make good on money pledges made at a Syria aid conference in London last month. His agency, UNICEF, seeks $1.16 billion for 2016 to help Syria’s children, including close to 3 million who are not in school.

Refugee children arrive at the Turkish border crossing gate as Syrians fleeing the embattled city of Aleppo wait on February 6, 2016 in Bab al-Salama, near the city of Azaz, northern Syria. (AFP/BULENT KILIC)
Refugee children arrive at the Turkish border crossing gate as Syrians fleeing the embattled city of Aleppo wait on February 6, 2016 in Bab al-Salama, near the city of Azaz, northern Syria. (AFP/BULENT KILIC)

The agency has so far received only 6 percent of the amount it seeks for this year. Salama says it would make more sense for donors to provide the funds early on and enable more effective, longer-term planning.

“Let’s stop the suffering now, let’s ensure that they (Syria’s children) have a future, and they see that they have a future,” Salama tells The Associated Press. “We have an opportunity still to save this generation.”

— AP

Most Popular