Number of Syrian children in need reaches record 12.3 million, says the UN
After eleven years of devastating civil war, there are now more Syrian children in need than ever before, the United Nations' children agency UNICEF warned on Sunday.
"More than 6.5 million children in Syria are in need of assistance, the highest number recorded since the beginning of the crisis, more than 11 years ago," UNICEF wrote in a statement.
Millions of refugee Syrian children also live in dire conditions outside the country, bringing the total of Syrian children in need to around 12.3 millions.
"Syria's children have suffered for far too long and should not suffer any longer," UNICEF added, lamenting "dwindling" funding for the humanitarian response in Syria.
"UNICEF has received less than half of its funding requirements for this year," warned Adele Khodr, UNICEF's Middle East chief. The agency called for $20 million to fund "cross-border operations" in northwest Syria - the country's last major rebel enclave - to maintain "the only lifeline for nearly one million children".
At least 13,000 children have been confirmed killed or injured since 2011, when a civil war erupted following the brutal repression of anti-government protests by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who remains in power today.
An estimated half a million people have been killed in the war. One third of the population has been forced to seek refuge abroad, and another third are internally displaced.
The sixth Brussels Conference on Syria and the region is due to start on May 10, with humanitarian actors deeply worried about funding gaps for Syria. Earlier this week, human rights watchdog Amnesty International warned that the slashed funding was creating a massive health crisis in the northwest.