Migrant children are pictured near Skala Sykamineas on the Greek Lesbos island after crossing the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece on March 1, 2020 | Photo: EPA
Migrant children are pictured near Skala Sykamineas on the Greek Lesbos island after crossing the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece on March 1, 2020 | Photo: EPA

The UN children's fund UNICEF has said that sending humanitarian aid across Syria's border has been a lifeline for vulnerable families in the northwest, with some 600,000 children displaced just in the past three months.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement published on March 7 that "sending aid across Syria's borders has been a lifeline for vulnerable families."

"Nine years since the conflict started, 5 million children still need aid. We must help them at all costs. We are deeply grateful to our local partners on the ground for their heroic work - sometimes despite the personal toll on them and their families," said Fore, after wrapping up a two-day mission to Gaziantep, in Turkey, where she visited the humanitarian logistics hub in Bab Al Hawa on the border with Syria. 

She also toured a Syrian refugee camp in Kahramanmaras 600,000 children displaced over the past three months. 

The UN agency explained that the mission took place amid an increasingly dire situation in northwest Syria, with some 600,000 children displaced just in the past three months. 

At the Bab Al Hawa border crossing, "Fore saw trucks being loaded with winter clothes, jerry cans, hygiene items, high-energy biscuits and other essential supplies destined for children in northwest Syria'', the statement said. 

"Since the beginning of the year, UNICEF has sent in 100 trucks to the northwest." 

'Guaranteeing support is key' 

At the Kahramanmaras camp, Fore visited a family who has been calling Turkey home for eight years. The children, aged between 7 and 12, go to school and the father works in construction.

"Although they are safe and well-settled, they still dream of going home," UNICEF said. The camp currently hosts more than 11,000 people, half of them are children. It offers schooling for 3,700 children and training opportunities for young people.

"Turkey has generously hosted millions of Syrian children since the war began," Fore said. "It is essential that this support continues." 
 

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