Syria 4 years on

Categories: News / Watchlist Countries News / No CommentsPosted on: March 16, 2015

Failing Syria report_March 2015

The 15th of March marks four years since the onset of Syria’s bloody civil war. Four years of unspeakable horror for millions of children and their families caught up in devastating violence as their country is ripped apart – and four years of failure by the international community to end their appalling suffering. Despite three Security Council resolutions adopted in 2014 that demanded action to secure protection and assistance for civilians, humanitarian access to large parts of Syria has diminished and more people are being killed, displaced and are in need of help than ever before, according to the report Failing Syria released by 21 humanitarian and human rights organisations. The grim statistics reveal how the resolutions have been ignored or undermined by the parties to the conflict, members of the Security Council and other UN member states, leading to the worst year of the crisis for civilians:

  • People are not protected: 2014 has seen reports of 76,000 people killed in the conflict out of a total of at least 220,000 deaths over four years. At least 160 children were killed in attacks on schools in 2014.
  • Aid access has not improved: 4.8 million people reside in areas defined by the UN as “hard to reach,” 2.3 million more than in 2013. 212,000 people remain trapped in besieged locations.
  • Humanitarian needs have increased: 5.6 million children are in need of aid, a 31 percent increase since 2013.
  • Humanitarian funding has decreased compared to needs: In 2013, 71% of the funds needed to support civilians inside Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries were provided. In 2014, this had declined to 57%.

Before the war, almost all Syria’s children were enrolled in primary school and literacy rates were at 95% for 15-24 year-olds. Four years into the conflict, almost three million children are no longer in school and Syria is now estimated to have one of the lowest enrolment rates in the world. Enrolment in Aleppo is as low as 6%, while half of the 2 million refugee children are not receiving any education.

For children in Syria every aspect of their lives has become a conflict, not least the daily battle for education. Children are dropping out of school, as their school buildings are being damaged or destroyed, the journey to class becomes too dangerous, or they are forced from their homes into areas with no education facilities. Each time a displaced child moves from one location to another the likelihood of re-enrolling drops, and many are at risk of never completing their education.

Schools are amongst the most dangerous places in Syria as a result of continued attacks or damaged sustained in the fighting. Almost one-quarter of schools have been damaged, destroyed, militarized or put to use as shelters since the conflict started. As well as the lack of suitable, safe school buildings there is also a shortage of trained teachers, with 52,000 having left the education system since the beginning of the conflict. This, couple with a lack of access to text books and other teaching equipment, is impacting on the quality of education available to children in Syria.

A new analysis by Save the Children, CfBT Education Trust (CfBT), and the American Institutes for Research (AIR), The Cost of War – Calculating the impact of the collapse of Syria’s education system on Syria’s future, estimates the direct costs of replacing damaged, destroyed or occupied schools and lost school equipment could be as high as US$ 3 billion. More importantly, the research estimates the longer-term impact on Syria’s economy of 2.8 million children never returning to school could be as much as 5.4% of GDP, which equates to almost US$ 2.18 billion.

Despite the upheaval caused by the conflict, children and young people continue to demonstrate incredible courage and determination. In a series of new portraits unveiled on, UNICEF recounts stories such as that of 16-year-old Alaa, who fled his home in the war-torn city of Homs, and is today continuing his studies while leading training courses for other children.

The No Lost Generation Initiative, an initiative of a wide range of partners, from UN and international agencies, donors, governments and NGOs and launched in October 2013, puts education and child protection at the center of the humanitarian response, calling for investment in expanding access to learning, providing a protective environment and broadening opportunities for children and adolescents in Syria and the neighbouring countries. The No Lost Generation Initiative – One Year Progress Report shows that 1.5 million conflict-affected children in 14 governorates of Syria received school supplies through the ‘Back To Learning’ campaign that began in the autumn of 2013. Special efforts were made to reach children in volatile cross-line areas. A school feeding programme has been established inside Syria. The NLG initiative has recognised that investing in teachers’ skills improves the quality of education, promotes their own resilience and increases retention. For example, more than 550 teachers received psychosocial training between October 2013 and August 2014. Outside Syria, in host countries, the NLG initiative has contributed to an increase in enrolment in formal and non-formal learning, from 169,500 to 489,000 children in the same reporting period. A number of factors have affected delivery of results against targets of the NLG initiative, such as the deteriorating humanitarian situation, continued challenges to access affected communities, policy constraints including those to school enrolment in countries, and funding constraints.

ACAPS’s newly released report Syria four years on: No end in sight – Mapping the situation for internally displaced Syrians and refugees after four years of civil war provides a good overview of and lots of infographics of the humanitarian impact on the war on Syria and neighbouring countries.

Additional resources on the Syrian conflict – 4 years on:

Syria 4 years on

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