A record 12.3 million Syrian children need help, UN says

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More Syrian children are in need than at any time since a devastating civil war erupted more than a decade ago, but funding for them is “dwindling”, the United Nations warned on Sunday.

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“Syrian children have suffered for too long and should not suffer anymore,” the UN children’s agency said in a statement, noting that 12.3 million needed help both inside the country and in the region where they had fled.

“More than 6.5 million children in Syria need assistance, the highest number recorded since the start of the crisis more than 11 years ago,” he added.

The war in Syria is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions since it began with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in 2011. It has escalated to attract foreign powers and global extremists.

“The needs of children, both inside Syria and in neighboring countries, are increasing,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Middle East Officer.

“Many families are struggling to make ends meet. Prices of basic commodities, including foodstuffs, are soaring, in part due to the crisis in Ukraine.

Children are among the most vulnerable and the UN has warned they are bearing the brunt of the impact.

“In Syria’s neighboring countries, strained by political instability and fragility, nearly 5.8 million children depend on assistance, their lives marked by poverty and hardship,” said added Khodr.

UNICEF said they faced a severe lack of cash to deliver aid.

“Funding for humanitarian operations is rapidly shrinking,” Khodr said. “UNICEF has received less than half of its funding requirements for this year.”

UNICEF has appealed for $20 million to fund “cross-border operations” in northwestern Syria – the country’s last major rebel enclave – to create “the only lifeline for nearly a million ‘children”.

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