Statement attributable to Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa

  • Families fleeing escalating violence in Deraa setting up tents on the southwestern borders of Syria. June 21, 2018

“UNICEF received horrific reports of an entire family killed including four children, in a village in rural Dera’a, south-west of Syria. Violence in the area has escalated rapidly since 18 June. In the past 24 hours, violence has significantly intensified as efforts to reach a peaceful agreement between warring parties failed. This brings the reported number of children killed to 65 in southern Syria alone in less than three weeks.

“In the largest wave of displacement to hit southern Syria since the start of the seven-year-long war, an estimated 180,000 children have been forced to flee their homes with little resource for protection, shelter or assistance.

“Humanitarian assistance and protection are not a privilege nor a luxury; they are a fundamental right of every Syrian boy and girl. Facilitating timely, quality and at scale humanitarian assistance through whichever means possible across the lines of fire and from neighbouring countries is the minimum we owe these children. If we collectively fail that duty, children will continue paying the heaviest price of a war not of their making. Putting the world to shame.”