Some children have been born in IDP camps scattered across Syria as the country enters the tenth year of the civil conflict.
Since the conflict began, nearly 5 million children have been born in Syria, with an additional million born as refugees in neighbouring countries, UNICEF has announced. They have grown up knowing nothing but war, meaning their childhood is lost to them.
These children lack almost every basic need, living in camps and tents that are at the mercy of extreme weather conditions. They are freezing to death in abandoned buildings and unheated tents. Access to health care is almost non-existent. In Aleppo, there is just one clinic that can treat children with cancer. It treats at least 500 children daily, however only has access to around 12 beds, very few doctors and a limited amount of medication.
“We had a child who was not treated for 3 months due to a lack of medicine and thus his condition worsened”, said one of the staff.
Despite its limited resources, the clinic offers recreational activities and educational workshops to those who come for treatment, in an effort to counteract some of the detrimental psychological effects of the war.
“What I like most is to come to the CCS, play with my friends, study and eat”, said one of the children receiving treatment.
This is just one example of the extreme pressure on healthcare facilities across Syria. Over half of all health facilities are non-functional, and over two-thirds of young people with physical or mental disabilities require specialised services that are not available to them.
Children continue to bear the brunt of the suffering as a result of the continued Syrian conflict. Since 2014, more than 9,000 have been killed or injured in the conflict and nearly 5,000 were recruited into fighting.
The nearly 600,000 children that have been forcible displaced since the beginning of the regime’s assault in northwestern Syria are now dealing with harsh winter conditions, limited access to basic necessities and little healthcare.