A third of all Syrian children have been exposed to war since birth: UNICEF
A file photo taken on February 02, 2015 shows an injured Syrian child waits for treatment at a makeshift hospital in the rebel held area of Douma, north east of the capital Damascus, following reported air strikes by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. (AFP/Abd Doumany)
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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says one in three Syrian children have been exposed to war since birth, as the conflict enters its sixth year.
On Monday, UNICEF said in a report that millions of young children in Syria have known nothing since birth but war and have either been forced from their homes, lost parents, or forced to work.
“Every Syrian child under the age of five has known nothing but a lifetime shaped by war – that’s an estimated 2.9 million children inside Syria and at least 811,000 in neighboring countries,” the UN agency said.
According to the report, more than 200,000 children live in areas under siege inside Syria. It also said about 2.1 million kids living inside the country and some 700,000 in neighboring countries were currently out of school.
UNICEF’s regional director for Middle East and North Africa Peter Salama warned that nearly seven million children in Syria were living in poverty as a result of being caught up in the foreign-backed militancy.
“As the war continues, children are fighting an adult war, they are continuing to drop out of school, and many are forced into labor, while girls are marrying early,” Salama added.
Syria has been gripped by conflict since March 2011. According to a report published in February by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.
Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material