Thousands of children and families have been forced from their homes in the latest round of fighting in Idlib City, Syria, warns Save the Children. Many more face imminent displacement as public services have all but collapsed.
The charity’s staff have already documented almost 15,000 people who have fled their homes, and it is feared that thousands more could seek refuge in other parts of the country because of further attacks and destroyed infrastructure. Staff who were in Idlib City say schools and hospitals are closed and only a few shops remain open.
Children are at risk of injury and death as a result of the violence, and our staff have witnessed the devastating effects.
"This weekend I stood with a distraught Syrian father as his 7 year old son, struck by a missile in his home in Idlib City, was hurriedly wheeled into surgery with massive head injuries,” said Save the Children’s Syria Country Director Martha Myers.
“The father, clutching a blood-soaked yellow sweatshirt, had no idea where the rest of his family was, including his 45-day-old baby. As the Save the Children Country Director, this moment was emblematic of the savage consequences of the Syrian conflict on its children, and on-going need for the work of courageous Syrian aid workers."
Children are also displaying signs of trauma following days of intense conflict, with their parents reporting sleeping problems, anxiety and bedwetting.
Save the Children staff in the areas of Idlib Governorate where displaced families are settling have noted that most are currently living with local families, while others are making their way towards the camps on the northern border with Turkey. Families are in urgent need of clean water, blankets and mattresses, clothes and food.
Working in coordination with other agencies on the ground, Save the Children is providing vulnerable families with access to clean water, blankets, mattresses, cooking equipment and other essential items. We are also working with local communities to keep children safe from harm.
Save the Children has been providing support to children and their families in Syria for more than two years, offering more than half a million children access to education, healthcare, food, protective services and shelter.
Save the Children calls on the international community to bring all the parties to this conflict back to the negotiations table for a political solution that would end the conflict, which is the only way to end the suffering for the people of Syria. We also call on the parties to the conflict to ensure that civilians, particularly children, are spared from the devastating impacts of the violence, and that civilian infrastructure like schools and hospitals are not targeted or used for military purposes.
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