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Aeriel view of destruction in Idlib Aeriel view of destruction in Idlib  (AFP or licensors)

Syria: Children’s charity voices alarm at child deaths in Idlib

Save the Children expresses grave concern at the number of children being killed due to ongoing fighting in the Syrian province of Idlib.

By Lydia O’Kane

The international charity said in 17 days 17 children lost their lives and many families have been displaced.

According to activists, airstrikes targeting Idlib killed at least four people on Monday, including a woman and her child.

Speaking about the alarming situation in the region, Save the Children’s Media Manager for the Middle East, Joelle Bassoul said, “the civilian populaton is paying the price for this military operation and children who number one million in Idlib are at the forefront and sadly the numbers are increasing by the day.”

Impact on services

Services such as schools and health facilities have also been heavily impacted by the violence with the Media Manager voicing the charity’s fears for students. “Soon it will be the start of the school year in Idlib and we are very worried about schools opening in such circumstances.”

She went on to say that “health services have been impacted by the fighting”. “Children have been displaced in big numbers; nearly half a million people have been displaced by the fighting in Idlib. We see many children now living in open fields, under trees, in tents. With the end of summer time and the beginning of winter, soon the living conditions are going to become very difficult”.

40 thousand children forced to move

In less than three weeks, more than 70,000 people including 40,000 children have been forced to move. “Families that have been displaced, some of them have been displaced up to 10 times because people are on the move in Idlib fleeing from the frontlines and from the fighting, Ms Bassoul stressed. She went on to say that, “sometimes they only take the clothes on their back and when they move, they don’t even have their own belongings with them. So the needs are immense.”

The charity said that “satellite images reveal that at least 17 villages have been almost completely razed to the ground, including residential and commercial areas, inhabited by civilians.”

Physiological trauma

In this ongoing conflict, children are not just suffering from physical injuries, but also physiological trauma too.

“They are not only killed and maimed by the ongoing violence, but they also suffer mentally and physiologically. We hear a lot about children not sleeping at night… and just being mentally impacted by the displacement, Ms Bassoul emphasized”.

As the violence continues, Save the Children is calling on all parties to the conflict to place the protection of civilians first.

The Syrian civil war has claimed over 370,000 lives and millions have been displaced since it began in 2011.

Listen to the interview

 

28 August 2019, 12:36