UNICEF has reported that heavy violence in the Syrian city of Ar-Raqqa is threatening the lives of more than 40,000 children who remain trapped in extremely dangerous conditions.
UNICEF Regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa Region, Geert Cappelaere, said at least 25 children have been killed and scores injured in the latest violence in Ar-Raqqa city.
“Hospitals and schools have reportedly come under attack. Those attempting to flee are at the danger of getting killed or injured.
“Children are being deprived of the most basic and life-saving necessities; little aid has reached Ar-Raqqa since 2013 due to violence and access restrictions.
“The fighting has resulted in massive displacement in and around the city, with some 80,000 children now internally displaced and living in temporary shelters and camps.
“UNICEF calls on all parties to protect children inside Ar-Raqqa, provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city and grant a protected environment to civilians who fled the city.”
Cappelaere said UNICEF is responding to the immediate needs of children and families who have fled the violence and sought safety in camps and informal settlements by providing 975,000 litres of water daily to around 120,000 internally displaced people in camps in the Raqqa and Hassakeh governorates; Immunizing 58,100 children under the age of 5 against polio and other diseases; distributing 11,260 school bags to children in camps and host communities in northern Raqqa and setting up learning spaces for 3,100 children; and distributing clothing for children and providing emergency psychosocial support to help children cope with the trauma they have faced.