After six years of brutal and senseless conflict in Syria, more than 400,000 people have been killed, including up to 55,000 children. This represents one child killed every hour since the war began. Tens of thousands of children have lost one or both parents and have suffered life-changing injuries, and 411,000 children are living under siege. At least 13.5 million people need humanitarian assistance inside Syria alone, while over five million refugees from Syria have fled to neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Many have died trying to reach Europe, where a hostile political climate has seen the legitimate right of refugees for asylum undermined.

The last year has seen the crisis worsen dramatically. Fighting has raged across the country and the Syrian and Russian air forces have escalated aerial bombardment of besieged areas. The siege of Aleppo in the final months of 2016 demonstrated both a new low of unimaginable savagery by belligerents and the impotence of the international community to stop the killing.

For six years, the extent of the international community’s diplomatic, military and humanitarian interventions in Syria have failed to address the scale of the unfolding crisis. In fact, the involvement of some world powers has only served to exacerbate the conflict. The United Nations Security Council has provided a forum for debate and passed resolutions to pressure member states to abide by their commitments, yet its words often ring hollow as resolutions go unheeded.

Furthermore, for Syrian civilians who have escaped to neighbouring countries, emotional and psychosocial problems are compounded every day by the crushing poverty they experience in refugee camps and on the streets of Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, which host the majority of the five million people who have fled Syria since 2011. Vast swathes of society have seen livelihoods, land and assets lost though the conflict, beginning a cycle of intergenerational poverty that will see younger Syrians denied opportunities that were available to their parents.

The UN Regional Response and Resilience Plan has provided a robust structure for donors and regional governments to coordinate aid and manage the burden of this massive influx. The people and governments of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have extended generous help to refugees, yet they bear a heavy load and require greater international support.

Until the war ends, the refugee crisis will continue unabated. This brutal civil war has seen civilians repeatedly targeted, hospitals destroyed, towns and villages besieged, chemical weapons deployed, as well as consistent blocking of humanitarian aid from those that need it. The Syrian regime and its allies are primarily responsible for the horror that people face daily, whilst armed opposition and extremist groups are also responsible for brutal acts. UN Security Council resolutions have been repeatedly flouted over the past year, most recently with the Russian and Chinese governments stooping to veto a resolution against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Current efforts at peace negotiations under Russian and UN auspices have not improved the humanitarian situation and children continue to suffer.

Despite this bleak picture there are actions the international community can undertake to address urgent needs and plan for a more stable and secure future for Syria’s children.

Funds raised from Rock A Tee 2017 will go to help War Child’s work on a program for Syrian children in refugee camps in Jordan to provide counselling, education and parental support (as well as a safe place for children to learn and play).


A group of children in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

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