Displaced Children in Northeast Syria May Never Recover, Observers Fear

WASHINGTON — Nearly 2½ years after the fall of the Islamic State terror group's self-declared caliphate, there still appears to be no escape for tens of thousands of children left homeless in its wake.Aid groups and observers say the children, some fro...

WASHINGTON — Nearly 2½ years after the fall of the Islamic State terror group's self-declared caliphate, there still appears to be no escape for tens of thousands of children left homeless in its wake.

Aid groups and observers say the children, some from families that flocked to join Islamic State and some from families who fled from its forces, are wasting away in displaced persons camps in northeast Syria, stalked by violence and even death.

"These children are experiencing traumatic events that no child should have to go through," said Sonia Khush, Syria response director for Save the Children, in a statement Thursday.

"It is incomprehensible that they are condemned to this life," Khush added. "Every day they are denied the opportunity to return to their home, denied the specialized services they so desperately need, and denied the right to live in safety and recover from their experiences is a day too many."

In a report Thursday, the aid group described the conditions in the two main camps — al-Hol and Roj — as dire for the 40,000 children who live there.

The camps are strewn with rubbish and waste, the report said, and there is little access to sanitation or health care. Some residents complained they sometimes go days without drinking water.

Malnutrition rates are rising, and diseases are taking a toll, all contributing to the deaths of two children a week on average through the first eight months of 2021, according to the report.

Despite a crackdown by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in late March and early April, violence is also widespread.

Source: Voice of America