A generation of children in both Syria and Iraq have lost an education, livelihood and in hundreds of thousands of cases, their lives. ISIS rule has resulted in hundreds of schools being destroyed and closed. Along with the destruction and killing, ISIS rule has traumatised hundreds of thousands of children, and has desensitised them to violence and killing.
In Syria, 6 years of conflict has left the country in ruins and has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and the displacement of millions, triggering the biggest refugee crisis of our modern age. Syrian children, many of whom have been orphaned by the conflict that has engulfed the country, have been without a doubt the biggest victims.
There are 6.5 million people, including 2.8 million children, displaced within Syria, the biggest internally displaced population in the World. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), since 2011, 50 Syrian families have been displaced every hour of every day.
According to a report by Save The Children, two-thirds of Syrian children have either lost a family member, had their home destroyed or were injured during the war. It is estimated that 3 million children under the age of 6 years have known nothing but war.
An unexpected result of ISIS’ devastating sweep across Iraq in the summer of 2014 has affected children born in the so-called caliphate, who are effectively stateless; while the extremists issued their own versions of marriage and birth certificates.
Along with children, mothers have also suffered gravely at the hand of the group. According to reports, 31,000 women across ISIS territory in Syria and Iraq had become pregnant under the extremists’ rule. Many of whom have suffered rape and abuse at the hand of the group.
It will likely take years, if not decades to repair the damage done to young people by ISIS brutality and war in Syria and Iraq.