MENA2014-00067

Iman, an 18 months toddler stands outside the tent where she lives with her family in Saadnayel Camp, an informal tented settlement where Syrian refugees are taking shelter, in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

With the conflict in Syria now entering its fifth year, some 14 million children across the region are suffering from the escalating conflict sweeping Syria and much of Iraq. The situation of more than 5.6 million children inside Syria remains the most desperate. That includes up to 2 million children who are living in areas of the country largely cut off from humanitarian assistance due to fighting or other factors. Some 2.6 million Syrian children are still out of school. Almost 2 million Syrian children are living as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and other countries. This is in addition to the 3.6 million children from vulnerable communities hosting refugees, who themselves are suffering due to the strain on services like education and health. Meanwhile, the increasingly interlinked crisis gripping Iraq has forced more than 2.8 million children from their homes, and left many trapped in areas controlled by armed groups. “For the youngest children, this crisis is all they have ever known. For adolescents entering their formative years, violence and suffering have not only scarred their past; they are shaping their futures,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “As the crisis enters its fifth year, this generation of young people is still in danger of being lost to a cycle of violence – replicating in the next generation what they suffered in their own.”