“Record number of Syrian children need aid”

May 9, 2022 - 18:49

The United Nations has warned that more Syrian children are in need than at any time since a devastating war erupted against the country over a decade ago, but funding for them is "dwindling".

"Syria's children have suffered for far too long and should not suffer any longer," the UN children's agency said in a statement.

UNICEF spokesperson Juliette Touma told media outlets that a total of 9.3 million Syrian children are in need of aid both inside the country and in the wider region where they have fled.

Syria has natural resources including oil reserves in the country’s east near the Euphrates river. 

However, Damascus accuses Washington of illegally occupying the region by stationing its military forces around Syrian oil reserves. 

Under international law, the United States is not authorized to occupy an Arab country without permission from the government or a mandate from the United Nations. 

The Pentagon has used the pretext of fighting Daesh for its military presence in Syria. 

Officials in Syria and regional countries say the American occupation is not linked to battling the terrorist group and serves several other sinister purposes. 

These include the theft of Syrian oil to prevent the government from using the revenue of the sales to help rebuild a country fractured by more than ten years of war by foreign-backed militants and numerous terrorist groups. 

Critics accuse Washington of serving Israeli interests by obstructing Syria’s path to improve its economic outlook after the Syrian government backed by its allies liberated almost all of the provinces that were once occupied by terrorist groups. 

The battle to liberate the provinces from terrorists by Syrian government forces backed by allies of Damascus was a tough one but ended in victory for the government perhaps quicker than the country’s enemies had anticipated.  

Contrary to Western officials and mainstream Western media, Syrians of all faiths, ethnicities, and races had lived peacefully in coexistence without any discrimination by the government of Bashar al-Assad. 

Christians, Sunnis, and Syrians from many different backgrounds hold high-ranking positions in governance, military, and other security apparatus. 

Analysts argue there was no discrimination or persecution like other nations in the region that witnessed uprisings against their country’s leadership. 

There was also no such level of hunger or record number of children displaced or living in poverty before the West and its regional allies pumped weapons that ended up in the hands of terrorists. 

Something unique that differentiates Syria from other nations is Damascus’s solid and firm support for the resistance against the Israeli entity that is ethnically cleansing Palestinians in quite a brutal deadly manner. 

Syrian officials also accuse the U.S. military of using its land and territory adjacent to the Syrian border in neighboring Iraq to try and bring back to life the Daesh terrorist group that, for years, wreaked havoc in both countries.

The cost of the U.S. presence and its theft of Syrian oil has been felt by the Arab nation's households as the UN children's agency has documented "more than 6.5 million children in Syria are in need of assistance, the highest number recorded since the beginning of the crisis, more than 11 years ago," the agency statement said.

UNICEF spokesperson Touma notes the war on Syria has also forced many refugees to flee and in neighboring countries, 2.8 million Syrian refugee children depend on assistance.

Syria's war is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions since it began with a rise in foreign-backed militants taking up arms in 2011. 

Many anti-war advocates said at the time that the weapons being sent to the militants would later fall in the hands of dangerous terrorist groups. 

This was the scenario that unfolded and the terrorists, not only Daesh but also al-Qaeda affiliated groups and others with similar ideologies didn’t just destroy Syria and Iraq. They killed hundreds of innocent civilians in Western countries as well. 

The whole idea of arming, training, and funding militants backfired so spectacularly that until today, it remains difficult to apprehend if this was the plan of foreign intelligence agencies all along. 

Sleeper cells are still operating and reports have resurfaced recently of the U.S. military transporting Daesh terrorists. 

Meanwhile, Syria has been targeted by U.S. sanctions under the “Caesar Act”, that have further crippled the war-torn country’s economy by prohibiting foreign companies from trading with Damascus.

Critics argue the punitive U.S. measures are aimed at further punishing the Syrian government after it’s successful gains against the foreign-backed militancy that brought security back to the country at the cost of Washington spending a lot of money, resources and time supporting the opposing side. 

The war on Syria as UNICEF correctly points out escalated into a devastating and complex conflict that drew in numerous actors including terrorist groups and regional and international powers.

"Children's needs, both inside Syria and in neighboring countries, are growing," said Adele Khodr, UNICEF's Middle East chief.

"Many families struggle to make ends meet. Prices of basic supplies including food are skyrocketing, partially as a result of the crisis in Ukraine."

Children are among the most vulnerable and the UN warned they are bearing the brunt of the impact. UNICEF said the agency faced a severe cash shortfall to provide aid.

"Funding for humanitarian operations is meanwhile fast dwindling," Khodr said. "UNICEF has received less than half of its funding requirements for this year."

According to UNICEF, eleven years after the crisis in Syria, children continue to be the first and most to suffer.

“More than 6.5 million children in Syria are in need of assistance, the highest ever recorded since the beginning of the crisis, more than 11 years ago.

“In Syria’s neighboring countries, strained by political instability and fragility, nearly 5.8 million children depend on assistance, their lives riddled with poverty and hardship.

“Funding for humanitarian operations is meanwhile fast dwindling. Ahead of the sixth Brussels Conference on Syria and the region on 10 May, UNICEF has only received less than half of its funding requirements for this year. Of our requirements to reach children and families impacted by the crisis in Syria, we urgently need nearly US$20 million for the cross-border operations, the only lifeline for nearly one million children in the northwest of Syria.” 

Just recently, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NCR) warned vulnerable Syrian families to need urgent financial support to survive the country’s debilitating economic crisis.

New findings released by NRC show how families across Syria are struggling to cope as their incomes rapidly lose value in the face of spiraling price inflation. 

“Vulnerable Syrians face another decade of hardship, but the suffering can be stopped by international political will. While the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine continues to demand world attention, donors and governments meeting in Brussels must not forget about their commitment to Syria.”

The crisis in Ukraine is deepening an already-chronic food insecurity crisis, affecting displaced Syrians inside the country and in neighboring countries.

NRC has warned that Syria is falling down the priority list of international funding and diplomatic efforts. 

The organization has also called on donors to increase funding for the restoration of public services and early recovery in Syria, such as in the water, health, agriculture, and education sectors.

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