As Syria’s civil war has intensified, thousands of children have died in brutal attacks and many more have been injured, traumatised or forced to flee their homes.
Within Syria, civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict. Millions of children and families are struggling to access food, clean water and healthcare – with numerous cases of people starving to death. Education is also under siege. Before the conflict began, an estimated 97 per cent of primary-age children were attending school. Six years of brutal conflict has reversed more than a decade of progress in children’s education, with four million Syrian children out of school, sparking fears of a lost generation.
Over 6.6 million people are internally displaced within Syria, and over 4.8 million people have fled the country, putting an enormous strain on neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. Many of these countries have high rates of poverty themselves, making it very difficult for them to continue to provide protection and basic services for the large number of Syrian refugees within their care. Lebanon, for example, has accepted over one million refugees from Syria – amounting to around one in five people in the country.
Six years on, Syrian refugees living within neighbouring host countries are beginning to lose hope, many have begun looking for refuge further afield, notably in Europe. More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, generating division within the European Union over how to cope with the influx and deal with resettling people.
Save the Children has been working in the Middle East for decades. We are actively coordinating with governments, United Nations agencies and other NGO’s to respond to the humanitarian crisis stemming from the conflict in Syria. To date we have reached 3,806,976 people in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Syria – helping over 2.4 million children.
We have been providing food, water, shelter, hygiene and sanitation kits, as well as safe spaces for children to continue their education both within and outside of Syria.
We are working in ‘transit countries,’ those en route, such as Turkey, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece and Italy – ensuring that children are protected wherever possible.
We are also working in countries like Germany to ensure that the children seeking asylum here understand their rights and have access to care and support.