Save the Children has confirmed that at least 10 children and have been killed and six injured in at least 11 attacks in North West Syria since the start of June. Among the victims was a nurse of one of Save the Children’s partner organisations and three of his children.
The escalating violence constitutes a continued breach of a ceasefire that was agreed for NW Syria in March last year, the organisation said
The recent wave of violence in North West Syria after 10 years of conflict has also affected at least three schools and one hospital in the past month.
The latest attack was on Saturday when six children, aged between 5 and 14, were killed in shelling attacks. A nurse working with Save the Children’s partner Violet was also killed at home, along with his wife and three of their four children.
Two separate shelling attacks hit two schools in southern Idlib, destroying a playground and with a classroom ceiling caving in. The schools had been evacuated before the strike.
Mazen*, a teacher at one of these two schools, told Save the Children:
“Thank goodness the students were not inside the school when it was hit as the number of children killed and injured would have been even higher. The ceiling has now been destroyed. It’s unthinkable that children here go to school without any guarantee that they will survive the day.”
This recent wave of violence not only undermines the ceasefire but further exacerbates the dire humanitarian situation for thousands of people who recently had to flee their homes, including over 3,000 people displaced over just two days in mid-June.
Save the Children’s Syria Response Director, Sonia Khush, said:
“The loss of life in this escalating violence has been devastating, and we’re heartbroken by the news one of the nurses of one of our partners was killed, together with three of his children.”
“This war is costing Syria’s children and youth their futures as they continue to bear the brunt of a seemingly endless conflict. All parties to the conflict must immediately and completely adhere to the ceasefire agreed last year in order protect children and civilians. Grave violations committed against innocent individuals should be put to an end.
“The scale of children’s needs in north west Syria’s has never been so large. Continued violations of the ceasefire threaten their access to humanitarian assistance including access to safe education, safe shelter and basic services further at a time of economic crisis and the ongoing pandemic. “
The escalation of violence comes after a recent Save the Children report found hunger levels in Syria rose by 56 percent between 2019 and the end of 2020, with two in three people in the country needing food or livelihood support, as the world faces the biggest global hunger crisis of the 21st century.
Save the Children calls on all parties to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law and avoid further escalation. The organisation also calls on warring parties to avoid targeting schools and civilian infrastructure, and ensure the safety and protection of children. It further calls on the United Nations Security Council to re-authorise cross-border assistance in a vital vote this week to ensure that all children are able to access education and the assistance they need.
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