At a glance: Syrian Arab Republic
Syria crisis: UNICEF’s response for children
DAMASCUS, Syria, 23 April 2018 - Seven years of brutal conflict in Syria and there is no end in sight. Millions of children have never known peace.
Cash assistance helps Syrian children with disabilities to pursue their dreams
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 September 2017 – Bashar is one of 2.8 million Syrian children forced to flee their homes because of the intense violence. For Bashar, life was already tough and being displaced added to his daily challenges.
Child-friendly spaces offer respite for Raqqa’s displaced children
RAQQA, Syrian Arab Republic, 23 August 2017 – When 12-year-old Rahaf and her family fled from violence in their hometown of Raqqa, they got caught in the crossfire.
A Syrian doctor’s determination in the face of violence and displacement
LATTAKIA, Syrian Arab Republic, 18 August 2017 – Two years ago, an escalation of violence in the northern Syrian city of Idleb forced Dr. Khaled and his family to flee their home. It was only four days after the birth of his son.
In east Aleppo, clinics on wheels keep children healthy
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 1 August 2017 – In many cities, the sight of children and parents crowded around a big white truck on a hot summer day is not unfamiliar. Only in conflict-affected eastern Aleppo, it is not an ice cream truck gathering these children, but a UNICEF-supported mobile health clinic.
Landmines pose the latest threat to children in Raqqa
QAMISHLY, Syrian Arab Republic, 11 July 2017 – When 10-year-old Khaled and his family fled their home in Raqqa in the middle of the night two weeks ago, they were seeking safety after living through months of heavy fighting and in constant fear. They had already been displaced on three occasions, each time forced to flee with only the clothes on their backs.
Violence and displacement stalk children in Raqqa
RAQQA, Syrian Arab Republic, 7 June, 2017 – Reem, 19, thought long and hard before making the courageous decision to flee Raqqa almost three weeks ago. It was just before midnight when she grabbed her 10-month-old baby girl and a few belongings, and started a journey that would bring them more misery.
A Syrian physician brings personal experience to polio immunization campaign
HAMA, Syrian Arab Republic, 11 May 2017 – Dr. Majed contracted polio at the age of 7 months. He grew up determined to protect as many children as possible from this life-threatening disease.
Displaced Syrian mothers confront hardship with determination
DARA’A, Syrian Arab Republic, 28 April 2017 - Nada and her family fled their hometown of Al Shajarah after it was overtaken by warring parties more than three years ago. Now they have taken shelter, along with 40 other internally-displaced families, in a former school in the nearby city of Dara’a.
In Damascus, water cuts and crumbling sewage systems pose serious health risks
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 13 April 2017 – For 37-year-old Kawthar and her eight-year-old son Mohammed, life has become unbearable.
Innovative cash transfer programme supports Syrian children with disabilities
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 3 April 2017 – Two years ago, amid intensifying violence, ten-year-old Nasrallah and his family fled from their home in Idlib. “Fearing for our children’s lives, we had no choice but to flee to West Aleppo,” says Nasrallah’s father, Basel.
A place called home: looking after Syrian children who have lost their families
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 21 March, 2017 – On a street in Aleppo lies a two-floor house with a bright green door. Surrounded by a tiny garden of jasmine flowers and olive trees, the pretty setting stands in contrast to what the children living there have been through.
Basement schools provide safety and vital continuity for Syrian children under siege
EAST GHOUTA, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 March 2017 – For some, the prospect of spending time underground in a dark, airless basement sounds dismal. But for children living under siege in the Syrian Arab Republic, basements offer shelter from the cold, a place to sleep, and a safe haven from violence.
“Wherever we went, death followed us”: A Syrian family’s tragedy
MISRATA, Libya, 13 March 2017 – Sham is a Syrian girl, 10 years old, with large, dark eyes and a shy smile. She lives on the outskirts of Misrata, Libya, with her mother, father and younger brother Balal, who is 5 years old.
Two Syrian sisters back in school after losing three years of education
HASAKAH, Syrian Arab Republic, 8 February 2017 – For many Syrian children, school is little more than a distant memory. Others have never seen the inside of a classroom. But in small pockets all over the country, children and their families are doing whatever they can to reclaim an education that is rightfully theirs.
Pursuing education in the face of the Syrian conflict: Manar’s story
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 20 January, 2017 – When Manar and her family left their house in the old city of Homs back in 2011, she left behind much more than her belongings. As violence escalated in her neighbourhood, Manar, 12 years old at the time, had to leave her friends, her school and her sense of security.
Syrian children suffer as taps run dry in Damascus
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 16 January 2017 – An estimated 5.5 million people, including 2 million children, have been cut off from running water for over three weeks in Damascus and its surroundings – the longest cut the Syrian city has seen.
Children displaced from east Aleppo: distressed, injured, alone
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 December 2016 – For the families who fled the fighting in Aleppo city, the arduous journey was full of chaos and horror. Terrified and alone, many of the children arrived in shelters unaccompanied or separated from their families, with many suffering from injuries.
From shoemaker to student: Aleppo teenager goes back to school
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 19 December 2016 – When a UNICEF team first met 14-year-old Wahid a few months ago, he was fetching water for his family in ‘1070’, a complex of unfinished apartment buildings in a neighbourhood of western Aleppo.
Winter is the latest threat to children in conflict-ridden Aleppo
ALEPPO/DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 12 December 2016 – Five days ago, 10-year-old Ahmed arrived in Jibreen, an industrial district on the outskirts of Aleppo. Ahmed’s parents were killed in the vicious conflict engulfing the city. He and his four siblings have nobody to take care of them and help keep them warm.
Underground amusement park gives Syrian children chance to play
Syrian Arab Republic, 27 November, 2016 – Despite the escalating violence across the country, Syrian children are doing whatever they can to live normal childhoods, even if it means going underground.
Syrian families flee fighting in Raqqa area, as humanitarian needs increase
AIN ISSA/DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 17 November, 2016 – Fatima woke in the middle of the night to the raging sounds of fighting and shelling in her village outside Raqqa. She grabbed a few belongings and led her seven children into the wilderness.
Water cuts add to the daily challenge of survival for Aleppo’s children
ALEPPO/DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 November 2016 – Being born in Aleppo was always considered a rich blessing in eight-year-old Huda’s family. That changed abruptly when violent conflict reduced the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city to rubble. To protect her five children from indiscriminate daily attacks, Huda’s mother Manal fled with them to a neighbourhood on the west side of the city, with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Iraqi families flee Mosul, seeking refuge across the Syrian border
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 7 November 2016 – Children in and around the city of Mosul in Iraq have endured extreme suffering for more than two years. Many of them have been forcibly displaced, trapped between fighting lines, or even caught in the crossfire.
School in a cave gives Syrian children a safe learning environment
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 1 November 2016 – In the Syrian Arab Republic, going to school for many children is fraught with danger. Every day, children and teachers risk their lives to reach a classroom, as schools continue to come under attack. Yet despite these risks they persist in doing everything they can to get an education that is rightfully theirs. Their stories are ones of determination and resilience.
Yearning for a better future in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 21 October 2016 – For 14 year-old Jaffar, going back to school will never be the same.
In eastern Aleppo, going to school is a challenge
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 October 2016 – In late September, the new school year started in several areas across the Syrian Arab Republic.
Education under fire: Schools in Aleppo damaged in renewed fighting
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 22 August 2016 – The life of a child in Aleppo has become even more dangerous in recent weeks, as intense attacks and fighting escalate across the city. At a time when children are at even greater risk of bombardments and fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic, education has become another casualty. Schools in Aleppo have come under attack, with many occupied by fighters and left destroyed or damaged.
Children in Aleppo threatened by new intense fighting and denial of life-saving aid
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 2 August 2016 – Children in Aleppo city are again facing terrible threats from new intense attacks and fighting in the western parts of the city, while around 120,000 children are among the nearly 300,000 people cut off from life-saving humanitarian aid in the east. In the past few days, violence and fighting escalated with children in the line of fire.
Syrian children’s courage for education offers hope amid grim realities
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 July, 2016 – What would you do if the only way you could sit for your high school exams was to travel for 13 hours through countless checkpoints manned by heavily armed fighters? How would you feel if 12 years of hard work to get your diploma was in vain because of a war that never seemed to end?
From inside Darayya: UNICEF on first humanitarian convoys to enter besieged Syrian city in four years
DARAYYA, Syrian Arab Republic, 10 June 2016 – UNICEF teams have seen a bleak reality of fear and trauma inside Darayya – as well as strength and hope among children – while taking part in the first two humanitarian convoys to reach the city in four years.
Signs of recovery amid the siege in Madaya
MADAYA, Syrian Arab Republic, 10 May 2016 – Madaya, the Syrian town that was once the scene of shocking images of malnourished children, is showing small signs of recovery. Thanks to UNICEF’s support and the determination of health workers, the situation of malnutrition in Madaya is slowly improving.
A Syrian boy’s journey to Germany
BERLIN, Germany, 2 May 2016 – How does a child deal with a dangerous sea crossing as his family flees the Syrian Arabic Republic in search of a safer life in Europe? For 7-year-old Nawwar, it was a group of imaginary friendly polar bears, floating on ice, that protected his family as they travelled in a crowded raft across the sea from Turkey to Greece.
In Madaya, permanent scars met with glimmers of hope
MADAYA/DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 8 April 2016 – “People looked healthier than during my first visit,” says a UNICEF health worker, on return from a mission to Madaya in mid-March. The earlier mission, in January, had found the town’s residents barely surviving.
UNICEF delivers urgent aid to besieged communities in the Syrian Arab Republic
MOADAMIYEH, Syrian Arab Republic, 24 February 2016 – Children were walking to school on a hazy Wednesday morning when the United Nations team pulled out of Moadamiyeh. UNICEF and its partners had just completed a delivery of much-needed aid for this besieged community of 45,000.
Syrian children cultivate some happiness, at a communal shelter
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 2 February 2016 – “I felt proud of myself when the first buds sprouted. It was the most beautiful day ever,” says Ahmed.
In a desperate Syrian town, children too weak to smile
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 12 January 2016 – “A heartbreaking scene like I have never seen before,” said UNICEF Representative in the Syrian Arab Republic Hanaa Singer, describing the crowds of people in Madaya, as a humanitarian convoy arrived in the town.
Sharing cherished memories provides vital comfort for Syrian children
QAMISHLI, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 December 2015 – “He always bought us the best clothes and took us for walks in the gardens of Aleppo, where we’d have our lunch in the open air,” says Ghaithaa, 13.
The struggle to reach Syrian children with quality nutrition
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 8 September 2015 – At 6 months old, Youssef, suffering from severe acute malnutrition, weighed just 3.2 kg (7 lb). His mother was extremely worried. The little boy had also been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that mostly affects the lungs, and his body was so frail, he struggled to breathe. His life was in danger.
In the ruins of a Syrian city, a woman’s courage endures
DAMASCUS, Syria, 17 August 2015 – Esraa Alkhalaf has experienced sniper bullets, ferocious fighting, water and electricity cuts, an abusive man, and has seen chunks of her city reduced to rubble. In spite of it all, this woman with a soft demeanour and a strong will stays in her adopted home of Aleppo for two reasons: a commitment to the city’s women and children, and her lifelong dream of getting her doctoral degree.
Field diary: Gardenias grow in the shattered city of Homs
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 10 August 2015 – Just minutes after entering Homs, one is reminded of the horrors civilians have witnessed here in this central Syrian city. Chunks of the Old City lie in ruin, its streets littered with debris. Only a trickle of people have returned.
Clean water transforms a shelter for displaced Syrian families
LATAKIA/TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 22 July 2015 – Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, hundreds of thousands of families have sought refuge in the relatively safer coastal cities. As fighting escalates in northern Syria, still more people have fled conflict in Idleb, Aleppo and rural Latakia to seek refuge in the city of Latakia.
New supplies bring hope to Syrian schools
DAMASCUS, Syria, 26 September 2014 – “I love my new school bag,” says Dania*, a fourth grade student at Abdurrahmaan Khazen elementary school in Damascus. As part of a UNICEF back-to-learning campaign, Dania and 1,500 other students in her school received their school materials for this year.
In the Syrian Arab Republic, mobile teams extend the reach of vaccination effort
DAMASCUS, Syria, 1 May 2014 – Almost six months after the confirmation of the first new polio case in the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF continues to support national efforts in tackling the outbreak.
Syrian children with disabilities are back to learning, at Homs school club
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 7 April 2014 – Ramez, 10, walks up to the whiteboard and writes his name.
Children cannot afford to face another year of Syrian conflict, says Executive Director on visit with displaced families in Homs
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 March 2014 – The cacophony of children’s shouts and laughter echoes around the shelter for displaced children and families in the Syrian city of Homs, where they are participating in two hours of recreational activities.
Podcast #90 – Education is key to building resilience in the Syrian Arab Republic
NEW YORK, United States of America, 13 March 2014 – On 15 March, the Syrian conflict will be 3 years old. As the crisis continues to devastate the country, region and beyond, violence and a pervasive lack of opportunity are affecting an entire generation of children. Today, more than 5.5 million Syrian children are denied their basic needs, the chance to learn and grow and the security of a stable childhood.
Field diary: Convoy of emergency supplies reaches Syrian families in conflict-ravaged district
AREHA, Idleb Governorate/Tartous, 10 February 2014 – Calm has returned to Areha, a town about 14 km south of Idleb city, but the tell-tale signs of heavy fighting are all too visible.
No lost generation – we must act now
NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 January 2014 – As the Syrian crisis rages on, approaching its fourth year, an entire generation of children is being shaped by violence, displacement and a persistent lack of opportunity – and could be lost forever, with profound long-term consequences for the Syrian Arab Republic, the region and beyond.
Field diary: Delivering aid to Syrian families in rural Idleb
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 6 January 2014 – I took part in a recent United Nations convoy that delivered much-needed relief supplies to a hard-to-reach area of rural Idleb, in the northwest part of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Polio immunization effort aims to reach all Syrian children
DAMASCUS, Syria, 19 December 2013 – The largest-ever immunization campaign in the Middle East has recently been underway, with the aim to vaccinate more than 23 million children against polio in the region, including in the Syrian Arab Republic, where 17 cases of polio were confirmed as of the end of November.
School clubs help conflict-affected Syrian children access remedial education
DAMASCUS, Syria/AMMAN, Jordan, 21 November 2013 – Despite the extraordinary challenges of operating in the midst of conflict, UNICEF-supported school clubs in the Syrian Arab Republic have reached close to 290,000 children with remedial education and recreation activities.
A Syrian refugee girl says yes to school, no to early marriage
ZA’ATARI CAMP, Jordan, 29 October 2013 – Manal arrived in Za’atari refugee camp with her mother, Majida, and 9-year-old sister, Malak, last December. Her father and brother arrived a few months later. Soon after that, 16-year-old Manal was engaged to be married.
UNICEF Executive Director meets with displaced families during immunization campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 October 2013 – During a two-day visit to the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake has praised the efforts of national partners, community and local organizations and volunteers in the provision of humanitarian assistance for the most at-risk Syrian children and women.
A vaccination campaign hopes to reach 2.4 million children in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 28 October 2013 – “Nurses will visit the school and give you vaccines that will protect you from disease and sickness,” announces Rihab to her Grade 6 students at the end of the school day. It is a scene repeated in thousands of classrooms across the Syrian Arab Republic in advance of a vaccination campaign.
Emergency school supplies promote learning amid an education crisis, in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic and AMMAN, Jordan, 31 October 2013 – A Back to Learning campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic has reached more than 400,000 conflict-affected children with school bags and education supplies.
Continuing studies amid continuing unrest, in the Syrian Arab Republic
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 October 2013 – It’s morning, and Widad, 19, waits impatiently for Douaa, 18, in the alley outside her house.
Syrian field diary: 400,000 caught in latest upsurge of conflict
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 October 2013 – An eerie calm descends over Al Waer, an outer suburb of Homs, as we enter an area that is home to some 400,000 people caught in the middle of conflict.
Much-needed support in face of huge needs in Dara'a, Syrian Arab Republic
DARA’A, Syrian Arab Republic, 18 September 2013 – I was part of a UNICEF team that joined with five other United Nations agencies on a humanitarian assessment mission to the southern part of the Syrian Arab Republic. The aim was to assess the situation in Dara’a, deliver emergency supplies and meet with partner agencies.
Helping displaced Syrian children cope with conflict
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 10 September 2013 – In a peaceful mountain area of rural Tartous, the fighting and destruction affecting other parts of the Syrian Arab Republic seem far.
UNICEF officer says Syrian children need us today
NEW YORK, United States of America, 30 August 2013 – As the stakes in the Syrian conflict continue to rise, UNICEF Emergency Specialist AbdulKadir Musse prepares to return to one of the most dangerous places on earth.
In Syria, a glimpse into the everyday dangers faced by humanitarian workers
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 17 May 2013 – As I was first arriving in Damascus from Beirut by road, the only accessible route for UN staff travelling into the conflict-torn Syrian capital, I saw a huge plume of black smoke rising in the distance. My colleague, the UNICEF driver who picked me up from Beirut, said it was coming from the direction of Daraya. The name immediately rang a bell, as it was frequently mentioned in the news as a scene of intense fighting.
In rural Homs, reaching families displaced by conflict
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 12 August 2013 – Summer is usually the time of year when schools sit empty, but hundreds of them in the Syrian Arab Republic are busy and crowded, providing emergency shelter for displaced children and their families.
Syrian field diary: Child witnesses to death and bloodshed
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 24 July 2013 – I first went to the Syrian Arab Republic in the summer of 2012 with the United Nations Supervision Mission (UNSMIS). Even as fighting between Government forces and the armed opposition spread, I travelled around the country. I visited villages that had been totally stripped of human life, and walked into burned-down homes.
A 'winterization' programme targets Syrian refugees caught in the clutches of brutal weather in Lebanon
BEKAA VALLEY, LEBANON, 21 December 2012 - In Dalhamieh, a small village in the Bekaa Valley, Syrian refugees are streaming into an informal camp, where their makeshift tents multiply daily. As of 19 December, this informal camp had sheltered about 698 refugees, of whom 86 were children under 2 years old.
Syrian refugees share their stories with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow during her visit to Lebanon
Wadi Khaled, Lebanon – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow today visited some of the over 200,000 Syrian refugees who have been registered or are awaiting registration in Lebanon.
A space for adolescents, in the midst of conflict-ravaged Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 18 June 2013 – A recently rehabilitated centre in a relatively quiet neighbourhood in Homs City is abuzz.
A perilous journey to school through Homs, Syrian Arab Rebublic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 5 June 2013 – The more than two-year conflict in Syria has long made it difficult to drop my children off at school. But, I never imagined that, one day, all the roads except one would be closed – and that it could keep my daughter from completing ninth grade. We had come too far to let that happen.
Mobile health teams treat Syrian children and families where they shelter
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 26 April 2013 – Six mornings a week, Dr. Fedaa Shofan attends to children and women seeking medical assistance at a clinic run by one of the local NGOs in Homs city.
At a camp on the Syrian–Turkish border, talk of the past and present - and the future
BAB AL SALAMA, Syrian Arab Republic, 23 April 2013 – Last November, Bassam Guan, a 35-year-old father of four, left for work at a freezer plant in his hometown of Marea in the northern part of the Syrian Arab Republic. His family never saw him again. That afternoon, the plant was bombed by war planes. Mr. Guan and nine of his colleagues died in the explosion. Many more were wounded.
With volunteers risking their safety, humanitarian work has become part of fabric of community in Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 8 April 2013 – During my recent mission to Homs, I met medics who work with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), as well as volunteers with major local NGOs, all of whom risk their lives to help people.
A place of sanctuary for children of Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 3 April 2013 – I did not quite know what to expect when I accompanied a UNICEF team driving through the streets of Homs.
Children's lives on hold, in the Syrian Arab Republic
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 2 April 2013 – “My 4-year-old sister couldn’t talk for a while after she witnessed our neighbourhood under attack,” says Siham*.
Children's health suffering, medical care insufficient, at camp sheltering Syrians
BAB AL SALAMA, Syrian Arab Republic, 28 March 2013 – In Bab al Salama camp, Khola Bakkor sits quietly in the tent her family have sheltered in for seven long months.
Children find a safe space to learn in conflict-torn Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 26 March 2013 – Homs has suffered some of the heaviest and most relentless fighting in the Syrian conflict. Many neighbourhoods have been damaged or destroyed, leaving at least 600,000 of the city’s residents in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Hossam and Shimaa, both 12, talk about how crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic has torn their lives apart
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 13 March 2013 – Hossam, 12, lives in a school building. “I have been living here with my father, my stepmother, my two siblings and step-sister for one year. We also have here with us my grandfather, and my uncle and my aunt’s families,” he says.
Women heads of household struggle to support and protect family, in crisis-torn Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 27 February 2013 – You don’t have to drive too far to see signs of destruction and devastation. The thundering sound of shelling is part of everyday life here. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have had to flee their homes from many parts of Homs in search of safety
After winter break and heavy rains, back to school at Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan
ZA’ATARI, Jordan, 27 February 2013 – It’s back to school for thousands of Syrian children at Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan.
UNICEF officer takes part in recent mission delivering critical relief supplies to displaced people in northwestern Syria
Syrian Arab Republic, 22 February 2013 - A few days ago, I took part in a joint UN mission to Karameh, in Syria’s north-western Idleb Province, to deliver much needed relief supplies to thousands of displaced people.
UNICEF officer shares the story of one young girl in Tartous, Syrian Arab Republic
TARTOUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 February 2013 - During my recent mission to Tartous, where approximately 200,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance, I went to assist with the distribution of family hygiene kits to affected families. Distribution was implemented by UNICEF’s local partner Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).
Field diary: In Syrian Arab Republic, pockets of hope in a world of chaos
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 11 February 2013 – I have just returned from Homs, where I stayed for one month as part of a mission to assess the humanitarian situation in the governorate. We have also worked to review humanitarian programmes and to strengthen and build our relationship with local partners for expanding our work.
Field diary: Impressions from the battered war zone of Homs, Syrian Arab Republic
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 15 January 2013 – Homs has been the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the Syrian Arab Republic’s 22-month conflict, with hundreds of thousands of residents displaced.
Syrian refugee children are dying, they are hurt and they need healing, says UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore
NEW YORK, United States of America, 19 December 2012 – The number of Syrian refugees has risen to over half a million. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore has made an urgent plea for additional humanitarian assistance for women and children who have had to flee their homes – especially as winter has presented even more challenges.
Field Diary: Parents in the Syrian Arab Republic brave fighting to get their children vaccinated
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 6 December 2012 - At the vaccination clinics I visited, the sounds of children crying after their injections mixed with the explosions of gunshots and shelling in the streets outside.
Amidst talk of relocation, internally displaced children express themselves through recreational activities
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 5 September 2012 - “Where we will be taken?” “Where are they going to put us?” “What will happen to us?” Such are the concerns of internally displaced persons housed in schools in the Syrian Arab Republic. As the school year approaches, rumours have spread that the families will be moved.
UNICEF and partners continue to provide humanitarian assistance for Syrian children and families in Jordan
AMMAN, Jordan, 15 August 2012 – Umm Ghassan sat inside her tent in Za’atari camp, holding her two-year-old grandchild. She was waiting for the child’s siblings and mother, who had gone to fetch the water necessary to meet the family’s drinking and washing needs.
In Syria, Schools Become Homes and Support Centers
DAMASCUS, Syria, 2 Aug, 2012 - In Damascus, Aleppo and other cities in Syria, schools are hosting internally displaced persons who had to flee neighbourhoods affected by shelling and violence. According to the Ministry of Education, 307 schools today are hosting internally displaced persons. Residents vary from 50 in a small school to more than 400 in big schools.
Ordinary citizens pitch in to assist people displaced by the violence in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 27 July 2012 – These have been difficult times for everyone in Damascus. Thousands of people have had to leave their homes to seek refuge in safer areas, often in schools and mosques. By the weekend, dozens of schools in and around Damascus were full of displaced families.
In Lebanon, summer camp offers safety, education and care for Syrian refugee children and marginalized Lebanese children
BEQAA VALLEY, Syria, 27 July 2012 – “Why [do] all beautiful things have an end?” said 8-year-old Chadi* at the end of a five-week summer camp for Syrian refugee children and marginalized Lebanese children. “I was so happy here; I played, learned and made so many friends.” The camp, organized by UNICEF and the Lebanese nongovernmental organization IQRA’ Association, offered a safe place for these children to learn, play and receive psychosocial support.
UNICEF-supported summer camps are helping Syrian and Lebanese children integrate into public schools in Lebanon
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon, 6 July 2012 – “I was here at seven this morning because I did not want to be late for class,” said 8-year-old Razan*, looking up from her drawing book. “Here we get to read stories and learn new words, and sing and dance.”
Summer camps help Syrian refugee children recovery, regain missed education
AMMAN, Jordan, 5 July 2012 – At a large primary school on the outskirts of the capital Amman, 11-year-old Basma* and her 7-year-old sister are among around 180 children, most of them Syrian refugees, taking part in a summer camp.
In Jordan, Syrian refugee children are learning to cope with the violence they’ve witnessed
MAFRAQ/AMMAN, Jordan, 4 June 2012 – On their way to school in Homs last year, 9-year-old twins Seema* and Nour* saw dead bodies in the street.
In southern Turkey, Syrian refugee children are caught between a harrowing past and an uncertain future
HATAY, Turkey, 10 May 2012 – In a quiet house outside Antakya in southern Turkey, parents fleeing 14 months of violence in Syria have set up a makeshift school for their children. The sounds of lessons in maths, English, Turkish and the Koran ring through the living rooms and bedrooms, and the garden has become a lively playground.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon cope with hardships, fear for their families at home
AL FAQIHA, Lebanon, 7 May 2012 – The little hilltop town of Al Faqiha is located in one of the more remote corners of the Bekaa Valley, a fertile swath of land along Lebanon’s eastern frontier. It’s also the region closest to Syria, Lebanon’s troubled neighbour, making it a natural refuge for Syrian families seeking sanctuary from the unrest in their homeland.
UNICEF supports Syrian refugees seeking safety in Lebanon
RAMEH, Lebanon, 24 April 2012 – With a sigh, Siham* glances around the small room that is now home to her, her husband and their five children.
Syrian children in Lebanon pick up the pieces of the educations they left behind
MASHTA EL HAMMOUD, Lebanon, 17 April 2012 – Stepping off their minibus in the mountain village of Mashta el Hammoud, in northern Wadi Khaled, a group of children scampers up the stone steps to their classrooms. While the prospect of maths and Arabic classes may not seem attractive, there’s no mistaking these youngsters’ eagerness for the afternoon that lies ahead.
In Jordan, UNICEF-supported activities help Syrian refugee children recover from the conflict
MA’AN, Jordan, 22 March 2012 – Peering intently at the scrap of pink material in her hands, 12-year-old Omaima* is a picture of concentration. Around her, about 20 other girls are busily wielding needles and thread and following the instructions of their teacher.
In Jordan, UNICEF and partners offer services to help refugee children recover from conflict in Syria
MA’AN, Jordan, 8 March 2012 – On a cold February day, Syrian refugee children and their parents gathered at the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) Centre, a UNICEF partner, in the southern Jordanian town of Ma’an.
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on Syria following the report of the independent international commission of inquiry
NEW YORK, USA, 23 February 2012 – “UNICEF is appalled by the impact on children of the escalating violence in Syria.
Displaced Syrian children in Jordan show signs of distress
RAMTHA, Jordan, 23 December 2011 – As I pull out my camera, Salwa looks at me and blurts out, “No, no pictures, please. Otherwise the police will slaughter us.” She is 5 years old.
Syria launches national ‘catch-up’ immunization drive amid continued unrest
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 17 October 2011- When the civil unrest began in Syria last march, the small agricultural town of Daraya was one of the first to be impacted. Due to the resulting insecurity, access to the health centers where routine immunization was usually provided became severely limited.
School clubs provide normalcy for children affected by unrest in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 6 September 2011 – Civil unrest has disrupted normal life in Syria since mid-March, taking a serious emotional toll on children, in particular. Between witnessing violence and having their family lives and routines upended, children are paying a heavy price.
Regional Director sees progress towards development goals with equity in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 1 February 2011 – Syria is making laudable progress towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals by their 2015 target date, according to UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Shahida Azfar, who recently visited Damascus and its environs.
UNICEF supports new curriculum and training to help overhaul Syria's schools
DAMASCUS, Syria, 29 December 2010 – “Repeat, repeat, repeat.” These three words used to be the mantra of a Syrian schools system built primarily on rote learning. But the launch of a new curriculum implemented by the Ministry of Education is effectively chipping away at those foundations – replacing them with something stronger and more sustainable.
Study tour from North Caucasus explores Syria’s new approach to youth
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 October, 2010 – At first glance, Syria and the North Caucasus would seem to have little in common. But beyond the different cultures, people and histories, interest in youth development is increasing and making a significant impact in both places.
Promoting breastfeeding remains a top health priority in Syria
LATAKIA, Syrian Arab Republic, 21 October 2010 – Syrian mother Jenna Mouna is well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding her newborn. Having given birth in a UNICEF-supported baby-friendly hospital, she’s being well taken care of by healthcare workers trained in a 10-step programme designed to promote breastfeeding.
UNICEF workshop determines to tackle child labour problem in Syria
ALEPPO, Syrian Arab Republic, 15 October 2010 – As the latest link in an unbreakable cigarette chain burns along his oil-yellowed fingers, Syrian mechanic Abu Hamid explains his predicament.
In Syria, regional Special Olympics games empower children living with disabilities
DAMASCUS, Syria, 11 October 2010 – Like other countries in this region, Syria has long wrestled with how best to meet the needs of its citizens living with disabilities. The seventh Middle East and North Africa Regional Special Olympics, held recently in Damascus, indicated that Syria has chosen to celebrate persons with disabilities and work towards inclusiveness.
Life skills courses brighten the future for Syrian Arab Republic's refugees
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 1 September 2010 – Ibrahim, a refugee from Iraq, admits that he hasn’t been this nervous since his arrival in Syria. His eyes flicker around a large room in the heart the Jaramana refugee suburb, which is filled to capacity with other young refugees.
International Year of Youth launches in Syria with colourful events
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 August 2010 – At a ceremony in Syria to launch the International Year of Youth, the importance of fostering dialogue and mutual understanding among the country’s youth inspired an enthusiastic response.
Alongside Syrian health workers, UNICEF battles varied causes of malnutrition
AL-HASAKEH, Syrian Arab Republic, 18 August 2010 – Syria’s Al-Hasakah governorate is just minutes away from Mosul, one of Iraq’s most violent cities. Yet one of the biggest challenges facing children here is an alarming rise in malnutrition perpetuated by a constant drought.
During concert in Syria, rock sensation Gorillaz visits with young photographers
DAMASCUS, Syria, 30 July 2010 – There was nothing typical about the visit of Gorillaz –one of the world’s biggest rock bands – to Syria, a country that is usually not a top tour priority. But the event was perhaps most unusual for 20 budding photographers from the struggling Damascus refugee community of Bebila.
Breaking the cycle: Iraqi refugee students in Syria need help to go back to school
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 6 July 2010 – Lulls in conversation with 16-year-old Iraqi refugee Gailan are soon filled with the gentle inhale-exhale of sleep. Outside, the Damascus streets are silent, except for the shuffling of those woken early by the intense morning heat.
UNICEF Syria supports vocational training centre for adolescent refugees at risk
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 22 June 2010 – Rana came to Syria in 2005. She and her family joined the ever-increasing Iraqi community in the Jaramana suburbs of Damascus. Heavily dependent on humanitarian aid and deprived of any regular income, the family exhausted their savings last year, and Rana’s parents had to return to Iraq temporarily.
Syrian students speak out on rehabilitating over-stretched schools
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 14 June 2010 – When it comes to the needs of the local school, everyone has an opinion.
Janitor-training programme strengthens schools and communities in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 28 May 2010 – With time and constant use, schools get worn out. Natural erosion is caused by the ebb and flow of hundreds of excitable young children. Without proper maintenance, no school building can endure forever.
National Immunization Week in Syria aims for 100 per cent coverage
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 30 April 2010 – Wide-eyed children waited with their mothers as UNICEF-trained health workers prepared to administer their vaccines.
Support for every child’s right to education in Syria
AL-HASSAKAH, Syrian Arab Republic, 21 April 2010 – Schools are similar across the world: boisterous students, playground noise and homework to be done.
Syrian children sing their way to better health and hygiene
AL-HASAKAH, Syria, 12 April 2010 – Songs and poetry have always played a central part in Syrian life, communicating important messages and wisdom across generations.
Syrian students spread the word about safe water
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 29 March 2010 – The message of World Water Day, celebrated here and around the globe last week, is more pressing than ever in the northern regions of the Syrian Arab Republic, which have received exceptionally low levels of rainfall in recent years.
'Capoeira therapy' brings joy to Iraqi children at a refugee camp in Syria
AL-TANF REFUGEE CAMP, Syria, 12 March 2010 – The closure in February of the Al-Tanf refugee camp on the Syrian-Iraqi border ends one of the most painful chapters in the post-war story of Iraq’s refugee community.
Fundraising cyclists visit UNICEF child-friendly space in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arabic Republic, 23 February 2010 – Fundraisers worldwide go to extraordinary lengths to help UNICEF alleviate child suffering. And going to great lengths is something Andreas, Øyvind and Jørn, three UNICEF fundraisers from Norway, know a lot about.
Adolescents find their identity through photography in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 12 January 2010 – Last summer, a six-week photography workshop invited 24 young people from Syria, Palestine and Iraq to bring their perspectives to issues affecting their region. The participants addressed issues including identity, gender equality, children’s rights and integration. Thousands of photos emerged, many of which were exhibited in galleries in Damascus and London.
UNICEF and the Embassy of Denmark launch refurbished water plant in drought affected central Syria
SALAMIEH, Syria, 2 December 2009 – Syria is experiencing a severe drought that is jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of families. After a second straight year of poor rainfall, this country in the heart of the fertile crescent is, in places, becoming barren.
New situation analysis report highlights violence against children
DAMASCUS, Syria, 20 October 2009 – After two year’s work, the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs (SCFA) in collaboration with UNICEF has concluded a report on the Situation Analysis of Children (SITAN) in Syria.
In Syria, ‘capoeira’ helps Palestinian-Iraqi children heal psycho-social wounds
AL-TANF CAMP, Syrian Arab Republic, 2 October 2009 – In al-Tanf, a refugee camp set up in the no-man's-land near the Syrian-Iraqi border, Palestinian children who have fled the conflict in Iraq participate in various activities designed to help them heal their psycho-social wounds.
UNICEF Syria 'training of trainers' workshops help young Palestinians make a difference
NEIRAB, Syria, 27 August 2009 – During six days of intensive sessions in Neirab, 20 Palestinian adolescents attending a recent UNICEF 'training of trainers' workshop learned various techniques for mobilizing young people to become more involved in their communities.
UNICEF provides a new model of health care for refugees in Syria
HUSSINAYA, Syria, 30 July 2009 – Situated only 14 km from Damascus, the Hussinaya district – home to many Iraqi refugees and other displaced people – feels a long way from the rapid development so visible elsewhere in Syria.
Young people tackle social problems at children’s conference in Syria
ALEPPO, Syria, 24 July 2009 – Hiba, 15, calmly scanned the faces of a large audience gathered in Aleppo’s Sheraton Hotel, expressing her conclusions with a striking level of self-confidence and maturity.
Iraqi refugee children receive psycho-social counselling in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 22 July 2009 – Six-year-old Tareq* clings to his mother’s clothing and waits anxiously for his weekly psychotherapy session. The social worker, the psychologist and Tareq’s mother all encourage the little boy to lift his head up and say hello, but he won’t leave his mother’s lap.
UNICEF Executive Director concludes landmark Syria visit
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 30 June 2009 – UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman concluded a landmark tour of Syria by commending UNICEF’s Syrian partners for their accomplishments benefiting children and young people.
Supporting better education for Syrian and Iraqi children
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 16 June 2009 – Miriam, 11, is from Baghdad. She has been attending Jerji Toma School since 2008. This year she witnessed a transformation. When she first arrived, she remembers paint cracking off the walls and old school books.
Life skills training gives young Palestinian refugees new hope
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 26 March 2009 – In the refugee camps of Syria, life for Palestinian adolescents is challenging. Although better off than many in the region—with civil rights almost equal to those of Syrian citizens—poverty, violence and alcoholism are common. Adolescents often lack opportunities to develop important skills relevant to life outside of the camps.
Child-friendly spaces bring hope to Iraqi refugee children in Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria, 10 February 2009 – With as many as 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, it is a struggle to provide basic necessities for people who have left everything behind in their war-torn country. In this setting, the special needs of children can be overlooked.
Classrooms in Syria crowded with Iraqi children whose families have fled conflict
DAMASCUS, Syria, 25 September 2008 – It is the beginning of the new school year in Syria, but a majority of the students are not Syrian. They are Iraqis whose families have fled conflict. When the lives of children like these are turned upside down, going to school can provide the stability they need.
UN schools in Syria serve thousands of Palestinian refugees
DAMASCUS, Syria, 2008 – Palestinian children residing in Husseiniyeh camp here are suffering from overcrowded classrooms and double-shift schools. Faced with staggering challenges outside the classroom, children are now in danger of losing their right to a quality education.
Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo brings a message of peace to Damascus
DAMASCUS, Syria, 30 July 2008 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo performed for the 2008 Damascus World Music Festival last week, delivering a message of peace, hope and protection for all children.
Providing medical services for Palestinian refugees in Syria
JARAMANA, Syria, 21 July 2008 – Noujoud Moh’d is a Palestinian refugee residing in the Jaramana camp in Syria. Like the other 5,000 refugees living in the official camp – as well as the nearly 17,000 living outside in an unofficial camp – she and her family endure overcrowded housing, poverty and limited work opportunities.
Adolescent-friendly learning centres support young Palestinian refugees in Syria
HUSEINEYEH CAMP, Syria, 24 June 2008 – If Aziza Melkash were not in this yellow-curtained room among 31 other teenagers intently discussing research findings, she would be holed up at home with little to do and nowhere to go.
Immunization campaigns reach out to Syria’s vulnerable children
QARAHTA, Syria, 18 March 2008 – Barely 10 months old, Sundus has her mother Aida’s eyes: dark brown, with a hint of turquoise at their centres. Sitting on her mother’s lap, Sundus looks peaceful amidst the bustle of an immunization point in Qarahta, 20 km from the capital, Damascus.
Regional Director Sigrid Kaag visits Syria and says the country is on track for children
DAMASCAS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 February 2008 – After a recent three-day trip to Damascus, Sigrid Kaag, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), noted that Syria is on track to achieve major progress for children.
Syria tightens entry requirements for Iraqi refugees as population pressure builds
NEW YORK, USA, 21 February 2007 – As Syria tightens entry regulations for refugees crossing the border from Iraq, UNICEF and its partners continue to advocate for humanitarian exceptions to the rules.
Uncertain journey for Lebanese refugees returning from Syria
NEW YORK, USA, 18 August 2006 – Thousands of Lebanese refugees who fled to Syria during the month-long conflict between Hezbollah and Israel have been crossing the border again. More than 100,000 have made the journey back to Lebanon since the ceasefire took effect on Monday.
As thousands of Lebanese families head home, UNICEF warns of unexploded bomb danger
NEW YORK, USA, 15 August 2006 – UNICEF is warning that thousands of Lebanese children are at risk from unexploded bombs as they return to their homes in the wake of Monday’s ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
Thousands head home following ceasefire in Lebanon
NEW YORK, USA, 14 August 2006 – Tens of thousands of Lebanese families are returning home, just hours after a ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Hezbollah. UNICEF estimates that some 6,000 people an hour are heading back towards the worst hit areas in the south of the country.
After fleeing 600 days of siege, a Syrian family has nowhere to go
HOMS, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 February 2014 – “We have no idea where can we go now,” says Ahida, a mother of six living in Al Andalus, a facility for internally displaced people. “When we left the Old City, we knew we don’t have anywhere to go, but we had enough of hunger. We had to leave Old Homs.”