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Syria’s Children And The Cost Of War

Syria’s children, and the human toll of three years of war.

In this Tuesday, March 11, 2014 photo, an aid worker measures the upper arm circumference of 9-month-old Shurouk as her mother Mervat, 31, holds her inside their tent at a camp for Syrian refugees camp in Kab Elias, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. uch stark malnutrition was rare in Syria in the past, but as the country’s conflict enters its fourth year, international aid workers fear malnutrition is rising among children in Syria and among refugees amid the collapse in the health care system. (AP)

In this Tuesday, March 11, 2014 photo, an aid worker measures the upper arm circumference of 9-month-old Shurouk as her mother Mervat, 31, holds her inside their tent at a camp for Syrian refugees camp in Kab Elias, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. uch stark malnutrition was rare in Syria in the past, but as the country’s conflict enters its fourth year, international aid workers fear malnutrition is rising among children in Syria and among refugees amid the collapse in the health care system. (AP)

The death toll as Syria’s terrible conflict and civil war heads into its fourth year now approaches 150,000.  But it is the living who suffer.  Barrel bombs and chemical warfare.  Siege and starvation and mass torture.  For all its tensions, Syria was a pretty settled, comfortable, middle-income country of schools and business and holidays.  Now it’s a raging hell of destruction and displacement.  Blasted families and desperate refugees.  40 percent of all Syrians have fled their homes.  And in the middle of it all — bewildered, suffering children.  This hour On Point:  Syria’s suffering, and the plight of Syria’s children.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Patrick McDonell, Beirut bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times. (@mcdneville)

Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF’s deputy representative in Damascus.

Nigel Pont, regional director for the Middle East for Mercy Corps. (@NigelPont)

Karl Schembri, regional media manager on the Syria Crisis Response for Save the Children. (@Karl_Schembri)

Courtland Robinson, deputy director for the Center for Refugees and Disaster Response at Johns Hopkins Univeristy’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

How And Where To Donate To Syrian Aid Efforts

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: On third anniversary of Syrian rebellion, Assad is steadily winning the war — “Three years into the revolt against his rule, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in a stronger position than ever before to quell the rebellion against his rule by Syrians who rose up to challenge his hold on power, first with peaceful protests and later with arms. Aided by the steadfast support of his allies and the deepening disarray of his foes, Assad is pressing ahead with plans to be reelected to a third seven-year term this summer while sustaining intense military pressure intended to crush his opponents.”

Los Angeles Times: Syrian military retakes Yabroud, a rebel stronghold — “The capture of Yabroud, coming as the Syrian war enters its fourth year, underscores how much the conflict has turned in the government’s favor. The town lies close to the major highway leading from Damascus, the capital, north to the key cities of Homs, Hama and Aleppo, and another roadway heading west to the Mediterranean coast. Its capture brings renewed security to the crucial arteries, which have often been cut by fighting.”

The Guardian: Syria: fears of a lost generation as UN and World Vision highlight cost of war — “As the Syrian conflict enters its fourth year, Unicef, the UN agency for children, says the number of children affected has more than doubled, from 2.3 million a year ago. The number of children displaced inside Syria has increased from 920,000 to almost 3 million, while the number of child refugees has risen from 260,000 to more than 1.2 million amid the world’s largest humanitarian disaster.”

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