UNICEF is providing humanitarian assistance to millions of conflict-affected children and families in Syria, including through support for safe drinking water and to the on-going polio campaign. It is essential that life-saving assistance reaches all those affected by the conflict, particularly children and women, no matter where they are in the country.
Words cannot describe the hopelessness I felt emanating from these camps, and I am not surprised that so many families decide to take the next step and leave Syria altogether. If we could just get access and reach them, it might not solve the conflict, but it would lessen the burden for families who have lost everything and ease the pressure on neighbouring countries.
An eerie calm descends over Al Waer, an outer suburb of Homs, as we enter an area that is home to some 400,000 people caught in the middle of on-going conflict. I am part of a joint mission, including UNICEF, WFP, OCHA, UNDSS, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, here to access the humanitarian situation.
In effect the Westerners want to take sides in a multi-dimensional war, with no guarantee that their chosen protégées will prevail. Most likely, by arming the rebels they will give carte blanche to the Russians and Iranians to reinforce their support for Assad and his allies, including the Lebanese Shia faction Hezballah.
I walked around to see how children in Homs are living. In a convent that works with children, situated at the end of a line of fully standing buildings and right before the destruction and rubble begins, I was amazed to find children reading books, listening to teachers, drawing pictures and playing games. The drawings on the walls spoke of smiling faces, waving hands, laughter and messages about the need to forgive. A total contrast to the rubble outside that represents so many battered lives.
The Red Cross has declared the situation in Syria a civil war. "We are now talking about a non-international armed conflict in the country," ICRC s...