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UNICEF urges G7 leaders to prioritize children in Syria as violence mounts in northwest

Published : 25 Aug 2019, 01:08

  DF-Xinhua Report

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). File Photo Xinhua.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore has voiced her "sincere hope" that the protection and well-being of children in Syria will be front and center during talks held by world leaders at the G7 summit.

In a statement Friday, Fore said since the beginning of 2019, at least 419 children have been killed or injured and some 169 children were recruited into the fighting.

In northwest Syria alone, she said there were more than 73 attacks on education facilities, 49 attacks on health facilities, in addition to 29 attacks on water stations, affecting the water supply to over 610,000 people.

"There are also indications that violence in Idlib could escalate further, a development which would likely result in further child and civilian casualties, as well as massive population displacement," she cautioned.

"UNICEF echoes the secretary-general's call for the September 2018 memorandum of understanding on Idlib to be upheld," she said, referring to a de-escalation deal brokered by Russia and Turkey for the northwestern Syrian province.

"UNICEF also urges the parties to the conflict and those who have influence over them -- including G7 leaders -- to protect children across Syria," Fore stressed.

"With the conflict now in its ninth year," she said, "it is critical that all children affected by this war -- be they Syrian or children of foreign fighters -- are kept safe and that their rights are upheld."