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Global Health
May 17, 2016

Impact of Syrian Conflict on Its Children

JAMA. 2016;315(19):2056. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4906

Experts estimate that more than 8.4 million people younger than 18 years are in need of humanitarian aid as a result of the 5-year conflict in Syria, including the 2.4 million who have become refugees, according to a recent UNICEF report, No Place for Children: The Impact of 5 Years of War on Syria’s Children and Their Childhood (http://uni.cf/1RhPpHV).

In 2015, more than 400 children were killed and almost 500 were maimed by explosive weapons, according to the report. Others, many younger than 15 years, have been recruited by the armed forces and are receiving military training, and some are even being used as snipers or executioners. Diseases such as measles, leishmaniasis, and hepatitis A have reemerged, and in 2013 a polio outbreak occurred. The water supply is often contaminated or unreliable, increasing the risk of transmission of infectious disease. Many children have acute malnutrition. With more than a quarter of Syria’s schools having closed, the conflict has also completely undermined the educational system.

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