500,000 children living in besieged areas in Syria

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Underground playgrounds have been built in besieged areas of Syria
Photo: UNICEF/UN041513/Alshaml

Some 500,000 children are living in a total of 16 besieged areas in Syria according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Violence continues to escalate across Syria, which has suffered from more than five years of civil war.

Daniel Dickinson reports

The number of children living in besieged areas has doubled in less than one year to half a million.

In eastern Aleppo city alone, the focus of recent intense fighting, it's estimated that 100,000 children are living under siege.

UNICEF said they are almost completely cut off from sustained humanitarian aid and basic services.

In the absence of safe spaces, children are turning to basement playgrounds, schools and hospitals to continue playing, learning and, when necessary, to seek medical care.

In one besieged area, a group of volunteers built a playground and a park by linking a series of basements.

The UN agency's Executive Director, Anthony Lake, said that for millions of "human beings in Syria, life has become an endless nightmare."

He added that children are being killed and injured, are "too afraid to go to school or even play, and are surviving with little food and hardly any medicine."

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1’01″

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