The Syrian civil war, one of the worst in recent history, has caused immense devastation and anarchy and continues to do so. However, the worst has happened for Syria’s innocent children as 2016 has been declared as the most horrible year for Syrian children. A new UNICEF report titled “How 2016 Became the Worst Year for Syria’s Children” [i] has revealed that hundreds of children in Syria have been killed and numerous others have been affected in a variety of ways. So far, 652 children have been killed as the civil war enters its sixth year.[ii] The unprecedented suffering continues to mar the lives of a very fragile generation, thus depriving them access to food, medicine, shelter and education.
The number of children killed in the war is the highest total since UNICEF has confirmed the number of deaths in the conflict. According to the UNICEF report, schools, hospitals, playgrounds and other areas frequently used by children are becoming increasingly insecure as they are targets for attacks. UNICEF says at least 255 children were killed in or near schools in 2016.The bleak report adds that 6 million children in Syria depend on humanitarian aid, but about 250,000 children remain in besieged areas, cut off from receiving aid. Lack of medical assistance and doctors has also lead to more children dying from easily treatable illnesses or injuries. As the situation in Syria deteriorates, families have been forced to take extreme measures, including pushing their children into hard labour or early marriages. More than 850 children were pushed into combat in 2016, twice as many as in 2015, UNICEF reported.[iii]