ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Children continue to bear the brunt of the years-long war in Syria as over 1,100 died in 2018, the United Nations said on Monday.
According to a statement by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore, in 2018 alone, 1,106 children were killed in the ongoing Syrian conflict.
Fore noted that it was the “highest ever number of children killed in a single year since the start of the war” in 2011. She said the statistics only included numbers the UN was able to verify, noting the figures “are likely much higher.”
“As the war enters its ninth year, 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,” the UNICEF director added. “Each day the conflict continues is another day stolen from their childhood.”
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Fore also expressed concerns over the growing number of children in displaced persons camps, especially those belonging to Islamic State fighters. She called on member states to “take responsibility” for children belonging to their citizens or nationals.
“We renew our call on all parties to the conflict, as well as those who have influence over them, to prioritize the protection of all children, no matter who controls which area and regardless of the alleged affiliations of a child’s family.”
The UNICEF statement also noted that unexploded ordnance and mine contamination is the leading cause of child casualties in Syria, with 434 deaths and injuries recorded in 2018.
Since the start of the Syrian civil war, about 500,000 people have been killed, and over 5.6 million others have fled the country with a further 6.6 million people in Syria displaced from their homes.