UNICEF provides lifesaving assistance to displaced children and families in northeast Syria | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content
Publication Date: 2022/01/27

DAMASCUS, 27 January 2022 – As violence continues in and around the Ghwayran/ Sinai’i detention centre, in northeast Syria, children continue to be critically vulnerable and in urgent need of protection.

Violence forced nearly 45,000 people in the area to flee, most are women and children. Some have been displaced several times fleeing violence in other parts of Syria over the years.

“The fighting must stop for the sake of children in the prison and in the surrounding area,” said UNICEF Syria Representative, Bo Viktor Nylund.

One week since the violence began, some of the main roads continue to be closed, disrupting traffic and the delivery of essential supplies.

UNICEF is on the ground, working with partners, to provide displaced children and their families with life-saving assistance, including clean water and critical hygiene supplies.

UNICEF’s volunteers have helped people reach shelters and clinics and distributed food, blankets, mattresses, clothes, and medicine. They have also distributed materials on the risks of explosive ordnance to raise awareness among boys and girls in the shelters and keep them safe.

A UNICEF-supported mobile health and nutrition team is providing services and medicine to vulnerable children and their mothers. To date, the team has provided health consultations and free medicine; screened children, pregnant and lactating women; and provided malnourished children with ready-to-use supplementary food.

UNICEF is providing information to families on how to prevent separation and access psychosocial support to children and caregivers. So far, nine separated and unaccompanied children were identified. They were separated from their families along the way and do not know where their parents are. 

“Children in shelters were frightened after the horrors they witnessed. Families told us children were having nightmares and bedwetting. It has been a harrowing experience for them, and it is clear they urgently need protection and assistance,” added Nylund.

UNICEF continues to call on all parties in northeast Syria to protect all children at all times. UNICEF urges all member states involved to take urgent action and responsibility in the best interest of children and bring children and their mothers back to their country of origin.

UNICEF calls once again for the immediate release of the children in the detention facility and unimpeded access to them for emergency care and assistance.


Notes to editors: 

The Alouk water station is operational, and it has been providing water to Al-Hasakeh city.

Water supply to the Ghwayran neighbourhood was suspended on 24 January and it was diverted to the areas hosting large numbers of the people displaced. UNICEF is mobilizing water trucks and has delivered 24,000 litres of clean and safe water drinking water to approximately 2,000 people. Critical hygiene supplies - including buckets, soap, water purification tablets and disinfectant - have been provided.

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UNICEF is the world’s leading humanitarian organization focused on children. We work in the most challenging areas to provide protection, healthcare and immunizations, education, safe water and sanitation and nutrition. As part of the United Nations, our unrivaled reach spans more than 190 countries and territories, ensuring we are on the ground to help the most disadvantaged children. While part of the UN system, UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations to finance our life-saving work. Please visit unicef.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For further information:

Laurence Bodjrenou
Senior Manager, Communications
514 288-5134 ext 8426 / 514-232-4510

Emily O’Connor
Communications Manager
416 482-6552 ext 8866 / 647-500-4230