Thursday 23 February 2017

Ahead of Thursday’s renewed Syria peace talks in Geneva, Save the Children is sharing the story of four year old Hazem* to highlight the brutality being inflicted on children.

He was 19 months old when his mother was killed in an airstrike while he was sitting on her lap at home in Aleppo. His father and uncle were also killed. He survived physically unscathed, but after getting hit in a second airstrike and suffering a neurological injury, his health has declined rapidly. Now four years old and unable to walk or talk, he is cared for by his grandmother in an area of Homs governorate classified by the UN as 'hard to reach'. His grandmother worries about being able to get food and medicine for him, and his doctor says he can't get the treatment he needs.

The area he lives in had its first aid delivery in five months recently, but that was only the second relief convoy to any besieged or hard to reach area in Syria in 2017. Aid convoys have been able to reach only 2.5% of the more than 4.7 million people living in these areas so far this year. 
Hazem*'s story is sadly not unusual – despite a ceasefire agreement last December, children are still being killed, injured and orphaned every day in Syria. In the last few days alone, two young children who attended centres run by Save the Children partners in Dara’a were killed in airstrikes at their homes – one a nine-year-old girl was killed along with three of her relatives as she played in her yard. Several thousand children and their families have fled airstrikes and fighting in Dara’a in the past week, and schools and nurseries have been damaged or had to close. A teacher in the besieged town of Madaya told us an 11-year-old child had been killed in intensified shelling. 
As violence escalates across the country and aid continues to be blocked, Save the Children is urging the parties meeting in Geneva to urgently secure and fully implement the ceasefire agreed in December.

Footage and a full case study are available here.  

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