NEW YORK (January 28, 2022) – As violence continues in and around the Ghwayran/ Sinai’i detention center, in northeast Syria, children continue to be critically vulnerable and in urgent need of protection.

Violence forced nearly 45,000 people in the area to flee, most are women and children. Some have been displaced several times fleeing violence in other parts of Syria over the years.

“The fighting must stop for the sake of children in the prison and in the surrounding area,” said UNICEF Syria Representative, Bo Viktor Nylund.

One week since the violence began, some of the main roads continue to be closed, disrupting traffic and the delivery of essential supplies.

UNICEF is on the ground, working with partners, to provide displaced children and their families with life-saving assistance, including clean water and critical hygiene supplies.

UNICEF’s volunteers have helped people reach shelters and clinics and distributed food, blankets, mattresses, clothes, and medicine. They have also distributed materials on the risks of explosive ordnance to raise awareness among boys and girls in the shelters and keep them safe.

A UNICEF-supported mobile health and nutrition team is providing services and medicine to vulnerable children and their mothers. To date, the team has provided health consultations and free medicine; screened children, pregnant and lactating women; and provided malnourished children with ready-to-use supplementary food.

UNICEF is providing information to families on how to prevent separation and access psychosocial support to children and caregivers. So far, nine separated and unaccompanied children were identified. They were separated from their families along the way and do not know where their parents are. 

“Children in shelters were frightened after the horrors they witnessed. Families told us children were having nightmares and bedwetting. It has been a harrowing experience for them, and it is clear they urgently need protection and assistance,” added Nylund.

UNICEF continues to call on all parties in northeast Syria to protect all children in northeast Syria at all times. UNICEF urges all member states involved to take urgent action and responsibility in the best interest of children and bring children and their mothers back to their country of origin.

UNICEF calls once again for the immediate release of the children in the detention facility and unimpeded access to them for emergency care and assistance.

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to pursue a more equitable world for every child. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

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For more information please contact:

Erica Vogel, UNICEF USA, 212.922.2480, [email protected]