Conflict in Syria characterized by "breathtaking levels of savagery"

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12-year-old Safaa cries as she tells her story to a UNICEF staff member. Photo: UNICEF (file)

Children are particularly badly affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria which is entering its fifth year.

That's what the United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos told the Security Council during her briefing on Thursday.

She said that one year after the Council adopted a resolution demanding that all warring parties stop attacks against civilians, the war is now characterized by what she called "breathtaking levels of savagery".

Cathrine Hasselberg reports.

The UN humanitarian chief told the Security Council that civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict in Syria as fighting continues to escalate across the country.

Valerie Amos said indiscriminate aerial bombings, including the use of barrel bombs, car bombs, mortar attacks, unguided rockets and the use of other explosive devices in populated areas, are the hallmark of this conflict.

She said the inability to agree on the elements of a political solution to the conflict means that the humanitarian consequences will continue to be dire for millions of Syrians.

"Children are particularly badly affected with 5.6 million children now in need of assistance. Well over two million children are out of school. A quarter of Syria’s schools have been damaged, destroyed or taken over for shelter. It will take billions of dollars to repair damaged schools and restore the education system. Nutritional surveys indicate a worrying decline in the nutritional status of children."  

Valerie Amos warned that increased violence in Idlib city in the past few days is particularly worrying and has the potential to displace hundreds of thousands more people.

Cathrine Hasselberg, United Nations

Duration: 1’17″

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