Middle East

250,000 Syrian children living under siege, report says

Ahead of peace talks, new report argues a quarter of a million children are 'paying the price for the world’s inaction'

09.03.2016
250,000 Syrian children living under siege, report says A Syrian child, who fled bombing in Aleppo, is seen at a tent city close to the Bab al-Salam border crossing on Turkish-Syrian border near Azaz town of Aleppo

London, City of

LONDON

A quarter of a million children in besieged areas of Syria are desperately short of food, basic medicine, and clean water, according to a new report by Save the Children.

In the report, called "Childhood Under Siege", the international aid group also decried the psychological impact of war on children in besieged areas, which it called "open-air" prisons.

"In every group interviewed, children said they live in constant fear of attack, and parents said their children’s behavior had changed – becoming more withdrawn, aggressive, or depressed," the report stated.

More than 125 mothers, fathers, and children living under siege in 22 focus groups were interviewed for the study.

The aid group included testimony from parents and children which "painted a shocking picture of daily life in Syria’s besieged towns".

On the healthcare situation, the group said, "The health staff reported operating by candlelight, running out of medicine, and sick babies dying at checkpoints because of delays in reaching medical care".

“Fear has taken control. Children now wait for their turn to be killed. Even adults live only to wait for their turn to die. When will my turn come?” Rihab, a mother in Eastern Ghouta, said in the report.

The report stated that children are being forced to eat boiled leaves and animal feed for their one daily meal.

“Children are dying from lack of food and medicines in parts of Syria just a few kilometers from warehouses that are piled high with aid. They are paying the price for the world’s inaction," said Tanya Steele, Save the Children CEO.

The UN announced Tuesday the postponement of Syrian peace talks between the government and opposition members for two days.

Talks will now start today, March 9, to allow “adequate time to address logistical and practical matters,” Staffan de Mistura, the UN's envoy on Syria said.

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