- The UN agency sees “progress” since the entry into force of the ceasefire and calls for “safe access” to areas under siege.
- children are being recruited at ages ranging from seven years of age, especially opposition groups
- the impact on education has been dramatic.; with 2.1 million children out of school.
more and more children are recruited for war in Syria. This was alerted UNICEF Representative in this country, Hanaa Singer, who speaks of a upward trend in recruitment of child soldiers , with cases “mainly in armed opposition groups” including lower ranging in age from seven years.
“we are very concerned about the recruitment of children because we have noticed, we have witnessed and have verified an increase in the trend of child recruitment. children are being recruited in ages ranging from seven years old, “ has said Singer, in a telephone interview with Europa Press.
Singer explained that” until recently “children only were used in tasks “support” such as cooking, but now they have detected that are directly involved in the war. “they checkpoints, are responsible for keeping weapons and, in extreme cases that they have seen on social networks, become used as executors or snipers, “he assured.
Asked whether the recruitment of child soldiers is given in the two opposing sides, Singer said that happens mainly in on the “armed opposition groups”. “from what we have seen, occurs mainly in armed opposition groups,” said.
the head of UNICEF in Syria has assured his organization has been able to “verify 460 cases” related to the recruitment of child soldiers. In this sense, he has had “an incident” registered in northern Aleppo, where “150 children were kidnapped as they left school after finishing their exams.” “It’s very worrying,” he stated.
“A couple of thousand”
Asked about the number of child soldiers might have in Syria, Singer has said could be a ” couple of thousand. ” “The trend is really high . For 460 we could check but we are talking about a couple of thousands” of child soldiers, he said. The representative in Syria of the UN agency for children reminded that there are “about two million children living in areas of difficult access” in the country, “including 200,000” who are in besieged areas.
“the impact on education has been dramatic;. with 2.1 million children out of schools and the education system has lost more than 52,000 teachers This figure includes teachers the dead, those who are internally displaced or refugees. it is a dramatic loss for the educational system, “he warned.
Singer noted that UNICEF verified in 2015 ” 40 attacks against schools “ in Syria, with “a dramatic impact of violence on children”, and found that the water has been constantly used “as a weapon of war” by the warring parties. “Only in Aleppo, the water supply has been cut at least 40 times, some of these occasions has been for 48 consecutive days in summer. This directly affects millions of people. These water cuts have been used in Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, Deraa … In total have been affected eight million people in 2015 alone, “said.
After reporting that” one of three hospitals have been destroyed or severely damaged “and” more than 50,000 health workers have been affected by war, “Singer has emphasized the serious situation that children who are living” besieged areas. “” When we talk about child protection, wHO is saying that one in four children are at risk for psychological problems. One out of four, you can imagine it? It’s a huge number of children, “he warned. In this regard, he assured that there are 3.7 million children under five who” have nothing except a life marked by war “and has warned of increased infant and child labor poverty.
Change trend after the ceasefire
Asked about the effects of the ceasefire in force since late February in Syria, Singer said his organization has observed “signs of a turnaround” . “We are seeing progress . There is less risk. It is a joy to see people out for celebrations in the gardens … it is a joy to see the children say they can sleep a little better because they do not hear shelling all day. We are seeing an impact, “he told.
The representative of UNICEF noted that the UN and aid agencies are” working night and day to reach as many people who have been left without access to humanitarian assistance. “” Thanks to the agreement of ceasefire, we performed 16 missions across the lines and have delivered vital humanitarian aid to 180,000 people who had not had for months, “he said. in his opinion, the most important thing now is deliver humanitarian aid in areas of difficult access and beleaguered and maintain that support for those most affected by the war.