The decade milestone in the Syrian conflict has witnessed nearly half-a-million people killed, and about 12,000 children dead or injured, according to the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF. The conflict also has resulted in the largest displacement crisis since World War Two. In addition to U.N. agencies, 35 aid organizations have joined to warn of the suffering and increased, irreversible, damage if growing humanitarian needs in Syria are not met and a political solution is not found to the lingering conflict.UNICEF Middle East regional director Ted Chaiban says continuing violence, an economic crisis and COVID-19 are pushing families in Syria to the brink. He told reporters that more than 6 million children inside Syria need assistance, an increase of 20 percent over last year as many lack basic services and access to food.     “This has been a war that has had a staggering impact on every single child from Syria” said Chaiban. “The price of the average food basket, what a family eats every week, has skyrocketed over the last year by 230 percent. One in three schools can no longer be used because they were damaged, destroyed or are being used as shelters for displaced families, or in some cases being used for military purposes.”UN Envoy on Syria: War ‘One of Darkest Chapters’ in Recent History Ten years on, President Bashar al-Assad clings to power as Syrians sufferThe International Rescue Committee has joined with Syria Relief and Development, Care International, Save the Children and a host of other agencies to urge the International community to step up its aid to Syrians across the country and in refugee-hosting neighbors in dire need, while working toward a political solution to end the crisis. Misty Buswell, IRC policy and advocacy director in the Middle East, told VOA about the concerns of 35 agencies aiding Syrians.   “We are seeing more people in need—over 13 million people in need of humanitarian aid now, the highest at any point since the conflict began—but people are in more acute need than ever,” said Buswell. “Over 6 million people are internally displaced. Many had to flee their homes multiple times. Their ability to cope with the challenges has really been stretched and their resilience now after 10 years is reaching a breaking point.” Buswell says the ability to deliver aid across borders must be maintained, while humanitarian access within Syria must be strengthened “without having to worry about security issues.  We want to see civilians and civilian infrastructure spared,” she says and “accountability for violations taking place throughout the conflict.” Chaiban drew attention to more than 5,700 Syrian children, some as young as 7 years old, recruited to fight by both the government and opposition forces with about half serving in frontline combat. UNICEF is calling for their release and an end to using youth as child soldiers.  Concerns are also mounting over increased Syrian child labor and child marriages due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

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