Saving Syria and Its Children

March 14, 2014
Syrian Refugee Child is Seen in a Camp in Turkey

On February 10, the children at a United Nations’ school in Muzeirib, Syria, were among an ever shrinking group of kids still able to attend school, amid a conflict that has driven three million students away from classrooms.   But then reality, in the form of an explosion, reportedly from an air-to-ground strike, ripped through the windows and changed their lives forever.

Forty school children were injured that day in an incident that garnered few headlines.  Eight days later on, another explosion struck a school in Muzeirib, killing five school children and 13 adults, and maiming 20 more. 

These incidents are only two examples in what has become an unremitting onslaught against a generation of Syrian children. As we commemorate the third anniversary of the Syria crisis on March 15, we urge you to join the movement to save Syria’s children and youth.

We have seen firsthand how this war has ravaged the lives of young Syrians.  In a trip to Jordan in January, we met a father who broke down describing the loss of his nine-year-old son, a young girl who had lost use of her legs, and a young man who had lost his brother in a chemical attack.  Many refugees had fled the shifting violence repeatedly, often having to leave family members behind in the process. 

The numbers of children affected by the war can be hard to conceptualize.  Some three million of Syria’s children are out of school.  More than 10,000 kids killed.  Of the more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees, half are children.  Imagine cities of children and their families needing food, shelter, warmth, and attention to their mental and physical wounds—not to mention getting back to school.

If the shocking scope of this tragedy is not enough, here are several other reasons to become part of the movement to save Syria’s children and help get assistance to those in need:      

  1. Within Syria, international assistance is keeping millions of people alive, delivering food and water, operating schools, and providing medical care.
  2. International aid helps the countries neighboring Syria that are generously hosting millions of refugees. These countries need our help to ensure there are enough hospital beds and school desks to support the large number of refugees. 
  3. Syria’s children and youth – the country’s future leaders – cannot afford to be overlooked and left behind.

This is why the Department of State and USAID have joined aid agencies and international organizations like UNICEF and UNHCR to raise awareness about the impacts of the Syria crisis on children and youth through the No Lost Generation initiative.

It is also why we are urging you to spend a few moments today to become a champion of Syria’s children by visiting or following #ChildrenofSyria on Twitter.

As the largest single donor nation to the Syria crisis, the United States has provided more than $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance to support critical humanitarian efforts since the start of the crisis.  This is in addition to the millions in U.S. bilateral assistance to support communities hosting refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.  

But much more should be done.  Citizens and governments around the world need to become more engaged, by speaking up for peace and by supporting reputable aid organizations.

It is not too late to make a difference.  All of us can be a part of the movement to help realize these hopes.  Why not you?

About the Authors: Ann C. Richard serves as the Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, and Zeenat Rahman serves as the Secretary Kerry’s Special Adviser on Global Youth Issues.



amit m.
Washington, USA
March 15, 2014
absolutely right and pretty important issue to discuss.i discussed many times this issue with my absolutely amazing wife Margaret Brennan CBS news Washington,my amazing wife Margaret mentioned this most debacle issue in the world,and she handling issue so know very well everything about issue,but most important point she mentioned after 3 years,at least 130000 people killed and more than 10000 children killed and more than 2.5 m people other words worlds bloodiest civil war,we seen in decade. Margaret also expert in foreign policy and also working with secretary Kerry so she know very well regarding issue how difficult and complex.Margaret also mentioned Assad still bombing with barrel bombs and killed innocent civilian while world watching quietly with out act.Margaret saw some evidence torture and killed prisoners in Syria.Assad become more fearless due to lack of action by US and allies,he is free to killed their own people like barbaric act.probably for children mental health who live between war in fear and we lost their family members in front of their eyes,Margaret expert in psychology to read people's mind and probably children of Syria make very deep impact of children minds with bad memories,they also asking for justice from world to punish assad,but no one ready to react. Margaret also mentioned UN and probably US doing great job to help people of Syria and mostly for children to provide necessary help like humanitarian aid land food,water,medical service and also help to built hospitals,schools to help built future of Syrian children and people,though this is very difficult and hard to provide help between civil war,but they doing great job,i & my amazing wife Margaret hoping for end of crisis soon and situation become normal for Syrian people,we are also hopeful for better future for Syria after civil war.
Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
March 15, 2014

 I'd like to thank the authors of this informative post, and try to answer their question.

 Being a man of means by no means, means that all I have is my one small voice for humanity to give, in favor of its continued existance , and a better world for my kids to live in.

  Therefore, the relative merits of my words and whether my government or any other gives a damn what I as an individual think; are directly relative to whether my words (or anyone else's), makes too much sense to ignore.

 One would hope they inspire a teachable moment, in offering perspective. No complaint without solution attached to the conclusion of the thoughts.

 If the above premis is to be held true and self evident, as a function of democratic social process, separate from but equal to a functioning democratic political process; Humanity might engage in great debate with the support of governments rather than fear ideas and watch as dictators suppress them.

 The idea of freedom, of peace, of sustainable opportunity for a better life.

Waddayawant for nothin' anyway? All I got's is a little free advice...(chuckle).

 Seriously , we need peace not this. The question is how do we all get there from here?

 Thus is the answer the little girl in the photo is waiting to hear from the international community.

  One wonders why the Arab spring happened, or a government leader gets replaced in Ukraine? The answer is incredible simple, and the people hate being right most of the time because the solution often involves incredible hardship. But even so, Humanity has become weary of dictators and autocrats.

  Therefore I base the premis of a more peaceful world on incusive governments responsive to their people in a respectful manner, abiding by norms of peaceful behaivior and responsible in maintaining such dicipline under international law, among all governments.

  It is not enough to simply treat the symtoms of dictatorial excess, pooring millions in aid to millions of displaced trying to hold one's finger in the dyke of famine, communicable disease, inadequate sheter and security, etc. Not to disparage the nobel efforts to render aid or the willingness to provide the means; but the bottom line is that as long as Assad is in power and giving orders, you'all will never see the end to the killing and human suffering in Syria.

  The question the millions of displaced have is simply, "When can we go home?"  This too must be answered by the international community, but cannot be until folks engage in "regime replacement therapy" whole heartedly. For it is not enough to tell a dictator that "his days are numbered"...unless he can be assured he can count them down to the last one on two hands.

  Going on 4 years on now, you'd think folks by now would be preparing to yank the tooth causing Syria's nation abcess.

  'Cause all the "anti-biotics" of diplomacy in the world haven't kept this crisis from going septic within the global body politic. 

  While some deny that grenocide is taking place, others who provide this genocidal dictator with weapons, destabilize other governments and threaten the use of force to "protect" their people while doing contributing materially to the genocide occuring in Syria.

  My answer on record here is simply in regards to defining this humanitarian crisis as "genocide" has been, "If it's not now, wait for it."

  Therfore it is my solemn conclusion that this world and this goverenment I'm engaging with, can ill afford to wait now having waited so long already.

 EJ -3/15/2014



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