UNICEF chief 'appalled' by reports of attacks on hospitals, schools in northern Syria

A damaged building in Aleppo City, Syria. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Connell (file)

15 February 2016 – United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake said today he is “appalled” by reports of attacks against four medical facilities in Syria, two of which are supported by UNICEF.

In a press statement, Mr. Lake said one of the facilities is a child and maternal hospital where children were reportedly killed and scores evacuated.

“Apart from compelling considerations of diplomacy and obligations under international humanitarian law, let us remember that these victims are children. Children,” Mr. Lake stressed.

Two of the strikes occurred at Azaz in Aleppo and another two occurred in Idlib, where one of the hospitals was reportedly struck four times. In addition, UNICEF said there are reports that two schools were attacked at Azaz, reportedly killing six children.

The agency is urgently seeking further information.

Mr. Lake also said that a third of hospitals and a quarter of schools in Syria – 5,000 – are no longer functioning.

Nearly five years into the Syrian war, some 4 million Syrian and host community children and youth 5-17 years old are in need of education assistance, including 2.1 million out-of-school children inside Syria and 700,000 Syrian children in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

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