At least 500,000 children are among the more than 800,000 people, including Christians, who have been displaced over the last two-and-a-half months as the Bashar al-Assad regime carries on with its attacks in the last remaining rebel-held enclaves in northwest Syria amid very cold weather and rains.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore has described the situation as “untenable, even by Syria’s grim standards.”
“Children and families are caught between the violence, the biting cold, the lack of food and the desperate living conditions,” Fore said in a statement released by UNICEF, which has also reported that at least 28 children have been killed and 49 injured. “Such abject disregard for the safety and well-being of children and families is beyond the pale and must not go on.”
There are reports that regime artillery and Russian aircraft have struck rebel positions in Idlib’s cities, from where residents are fleeing, mostly toward the Turkish border in the north where they are now living in tents and in the open air in extremely cold weather with little food, water and blankets.
While the attacks have led to a major humanitarian crisis, Syrian President al-Assad appeared to celebrate it. “We know this liberation does not mean the end of the war or the crushing of all plots or the end of terror or the surrender of the enemy, but it definitely rubs their noses in the dirt,” Assad said, according to The Washington Post. “This is a prelude to [the rebels’] final defeat, sooner or later.”
Fore said it was time for “the guns to go silent and for the violence to stop once and for all.”
“Parties to the conflict must protect children and the infrastructure on which they depend, give families respite and allow humanitarian workers to respond to the massive needs, in accordance with international humanitarian law.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar