We need to care about this. Not only because it’s the decent humanitarian thing to do, but also because these children are the future of Syria. If they’re inured to the brutalities of war and permanently psychologically damaged, then it doesn’t bode well for the entire area, which is extremely geopolitically important.
Imagine if this was 5.5 million American children. Now stop and think about this: The U.S. has a population of about 317.6 million; Syria has a population of about 22.6 million, which means that those 5.5 million kids are no less than 25% of the ENTIRE population of the country, and 68% of ALL Syrian children under the age of 14. Let that sink in for a minute.
In one of the main threads on a different subject, Mattand said, “you can only get kicked in the teeth so much before you stand up for yourself.” True—so what happens when these kids get old enough to fight back? No one can say for sure, but I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of the rage- and pain-filled payback when it is inevitably unleashed.
The statistics presented in Unicef’s report, Under Siege - the devastating impact on children of three years of conflict in Syria, are daunting.
Up to a million children live in areas which are either under siege or very hard for relief agencies to reach, while around three million have had their education completely disrupted.
More than three million been displaced inside Syria - a threefold increase in the space of a year - and 1.2 million - more than half the total number - have become refugees abroad, up from 260,000. Some 425,000 refugees are under five.
In addition, many children have had to start working early and very young girls have been forced to marry for financial reasons. Boys as young as 12 have been recruited to support the fighting.
Around two million children are said to need counselling for trauma.
Here’s the full report: