Syria’s Civil War Is Devastating Kids, Report Says
They certainly didn’t start this civil war.
And they’re too young to fight.
But every day, in the Middle Eastern nation of Syria, kids are getting caught in the crossfire.
According to United Nations (UN) figures reported on Friday, at least 7,000 kids have been killed in Syria in the past two-and-a-half years, in fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and anti-government rebels.
And nearly one million kids have been forced to leave the country because of all the fighting, according to UNICEF, the UN’s children’s agency.
That’s like the total number of kids in the cities of Boston and Los Angeles combined, according to one top UN official.
“Can you imagine Boston and Los Angeles without children?” said Antonio Guterres, the head of the Office for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in a report by the Associated Press (AP).
And many of those kids are in dusty refugee camps in neighboring countries – a “lost generation,” as Guterres called them.
“They will be paying for (this) the rest of their lives,” he said, according to AP reporter John Heilprin.
Just this past week, Syrian rebels reported that hundreds of kids were killed in a chemical weapons attack by government troops.
The exact number of people killed in the attack has not been confirmed.
But it could be as many as 1,400 overall, according to a Syrian-American doctor who spoke with reporters in Washington, DC, on Thursday.
And more than half of the victims were women and kids, he said.
“We need to end the crisis,” said Doctor Zaher Sahloul, the head of the Syrian American Medical Society, in an interview with Chicago, Illinois, TV station WLS.
The question is, how?
President Obama said months ago that Syria would “cross a red line” if it attacked its own people with chemical weapons.
And he repeatedly has called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign.
But after several reports of chemical weapons attacks, Obama administration officials said this past week that they were still gathering information.
Obviously, the White House does not want to tip off the Syrian government if the United States plans to take some sort of military action.
But as the fighting rages on, concerned Syrians are wondering whether anyone will do what it takes to stop it.
And in the meantime, Syrian kids are losing hope — both inside and outside their homeland.
“It is heartbreaking to see all these young people, children and women and refugees, who do not have any means, any hope for their country,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a speech Friday, according to the AP. “They do not know when they will be able to return.”