2016 was 'rock bottom' for children in Syria, says UNICEF

2016 was 'rock bottom' for children in Syria, says UNICEF

According to the report, some 12,600 kids crossed active conflict lines in Syria to sit for their final school exams, many traveling for days from hard-to-reach areas.

Unicef also believes more than 850 children were recruited to fight. The UN's children's agency UNICEF announced Monday that 2016 was the worst year yet for young Syrians, reporting at least 652 children died in the ongoing conflict, which will enter its sixth year on Wednesday. Children are recruited as fighters on the frontline, and in the a year ago increasingly as executioners, suicide bombers or prison guards.

"Verified instances of killing, maiming, and recruitment of children increased sharply a year ago in a drastic escalation of violence across the country", the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said in a report published March 13.

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Mr Geert added: "Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being, and future".

"Luckily, and thanks to the determination of the people of Syria - parents, fathers, mothers, teachers - thanks to the support of host governments, children are able to go back to school, they are able to resume their studies, catch up on what they've lost".

As the situation in Syria deteriorates, families have been forced to take extreme measures, including pushing their children into hard labor or early marriages.

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Six million children inside Syria rely on humanitarian aid, and more than 2 million are living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.

UNICEF noted that it can not assess the "full scale of children's suffering" due to limited access to parts of Syria.

"Over the past year in Syria, all parties involved have blocked vital aid supplies and millions have become poorer, hungrier and more isolated from assistance and from the world", said NRC's Mideast director, Carsten Hansen, according to The Associated Press.

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"After six years of war we are at a tipping point, after which the impact on children's formative years and childhood development may be so great that the damage could be permanent and irreversible", said Dr. Marcia Brophy, a senior mental health adviser with Save the Children. About 280,000 are living "under siege", cut off from any humanitarian aid. "I dream of a world without any wars".

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