Statement and spokesperson available: Conditions in Al Hol camp, Syria, and call for British children to be given best chance of recovery in the UK
George Graham, Save the Children’s Lead on Protecting Children in Conflict, said:
“Children in Syria who have fled ISIS-held areas are innocent. They are swept up in horrific events far beyond their control and their short lives have been full of violence and fear. Now they are stranded in desolate camps in dire conditions. Many have injuries or disabilities from the fighting. At least 300 children have already died there.
“Save the Children fights for children wherever they are battling the world’s horrors, which are never of their making. We’re responding to the needs of the children in North East Syria and their physical and psychological wounds run deep.
“One 15-year old girl arrived at the camps with shrapnel embedded in her stomach. She was in so much pain while waiting for treatment that she resorted to cutting it out herself using a rusty razorblade that she found on the floor.
“Another girl, who was 14 when she was taken to Syria, told us that under ISIS she was raped, forced to marry and saw her father beheaded. A 15-year old boy told us he was imprisoned and given lashes.
“But we know that with the right care children bounce back, recover and amaze us. They want to play and learn, and just be children again. They want to grow up to be doctors, teachers and football players. These children are no different, no matter what they’ve been dragged into by the decisions of adults.
“All children deserve help to recover. We can and must give the British children in the camps the best chance for recovery by bringing them to the UK to be surrounded by care and support. The actions of ISIS and the war in Syria have already claimed too many children’s lives.
“When we started helping one 15-year old boy he told us ‘I was so surprised to find kindness in an adult. I wasn’t expecting that there would be people in the world who want to help children like me’.”
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