UNICEF Representative Fran Equiza meets children in Areesha Camp, Syria.
Statement attributable to Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Syria.
QAMISHLI/SYRIA/HONG KONG, 25 August 2017 – “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.
“I have just completed a visit to the camps in Areesha, Ein Issa and Mabrouka where I met with displaced children and oversaw UNICEF’s lifesaving efforts on the ground.
“I am 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.
“Rawan, a displaced 11-year old girl, who fled from Raqqa told me: ‘Before we used to play, but then the darkness came.’
“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.
“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.
“Children and families who wish to leave Raqqa city must be allowed to do so in safety and in dignity. As the conflict intensifies further, children trapped in Raqqa city are at increasing risk of death and injury. Parties to the conflict must protect them and facilitate safe passage for civilians to move to safety.
“Six and a half years of conflict have robbed millions of children of their childhood and inflicted untold suffering on them. Parties to the conflict must stop the violence all over Syria and live up to their legal obligations to children.
“All children in Syria, regardless of their location or their families’ affiliation must be protected at all times.”