Syria children could be scarred for life

2013-03-12 20:12
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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New York - The war in Syria - from the destruction of infrastructure to massive population displacement - may leave an entire generation of children scarred "for life”, the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) warned on Tuesday.

"As millions of children inside Syria and across the region witness their past and their futures disappear amid the rubble and destruction of this prolonged conflict, the risk of them becoming a lost generation grows every day," said Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake as the agency issued a report on the topic.

Unicef said children suffered increased skin and respiratory diseases in areas where the worst fighting took place.

They had also seen their access to water cut by two-thirds.

The report said one in five schools has been destroyed or used to shelter displaced families. It said that, in Aleppo, only 6% of children are able to attend school.

It said fighting had wrecked hospitals and health centres, while skilled staff had fled. The children are also traumatized because they have seen parents and friends killed in the war.

"We urge all parties to allow unhindered access to children affected by the violence - wherever they are," Lake said.

"We can only meet the growing needs of this crisis if we get the help we need today."

In Iraq, police revealed that a group of wounded Syrian soldiers were being treated in a hospital in the northern city of Mosul.

Iraqi news site Alsumaria News quoted police as saying that seven soldiers had been brought to the hospital on Sunday after clashes with rebels near the border between the two countries.

Last week, more than 40 Syrian and Iraqi soldiers were killed on Iraqi territory in an attack later claimed by an Iraqi affiliate of al-Qaeda.

That group of Syrian soldiers were reportedly being escorted back to the border after receiving medical treatment in Iraq.

On the diplomatic front, Israeli President Shimon Peres told the European Parliament that "a way must be found to prevent [Syrian] chemical weapons from falling into the wrong hands."

"The best option to put an end to the Syrian tragedy might be achieved by empowering the Arab League... to intervene," Peres told a plenary meeting of the parliament in Strasbourg.

He suggested that "the Arab League can and should form a provisional government in Syria to stop the massacre, to prevent Syria from falling to pieces”.

Read more on:    arab league  |  al-qaeda  |  unicef  |  shimon peres  |  syria  |  syria conflict

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