The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that 14 million children are suffering from the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
The 14 million figure released on March 12 includes the 5.6 million children suffering from the conflict inside Syria, 2 million of whom are living in areas of the country largely cut off from humanitarian assistance due to fighting or other factors. Some 2.6 million Syrian children are still out of school.
Almost 2 million Syrian children are living as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and other countries. This is in addition to the 3.6 million children from vulnerable communities hosting refugees, who themselves are suffering due to the strain on services like education and health.
The crisis in has forced over 2.8 million children from their homes, and left many trapped in areas controlled by armed groups.
UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, said for the youngest children war is all they have experienced and that “for adolescents entering their formative years, violence and suffering have not only scarred their past; they are shaping their futures”
“As the crisis enters its fifth year, this generation of young people is still in danger of being lost to a cycle of violence – replicating in the next generation what they suffered in their own,” said Lake.
“Despite the harm they have suffered, the wrongs they have endured, and the apparent inability of adults to bring an end to this horrific conflict, the children affected by this crisis still have courage and determination to build better lives,” said Lake.
UNICEF is urging longer-term investments to meet the needs of children and adolescents, to equip them with the skills and motivation to build a more stable future for themselves.