An entire generation of children has been lost to the conflict in Syria. Today, Syria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child. During 10 years of war, close to 600,000 people, including 55,000 children, have been killed. Nearly 12 million people, half the population, have been forced from their homes, displaced inside their own country or across its borders. Children and their families live in constant fear of violence that threatens death or sexual assault, particularly against women and girls. COVID-19 has made this dire situation so much worse, with predictions the pandemic may push Syrians to the brink of mass starvation.
This report reveals the devastating economic cost of conflict for Syria, including the impact of violence and forced displacement resulting in limited access to education and healthcare, as well as dire psychosocial effects, on children. The scandalous cost of this conflict over the past decade equals $US 1.2 trillion in lost GDP. Even if the war ended today, by 2035 the economic repercussions of the war would equal an additional $1.4 trillion in today's money. That rises to up to nearly $1.7 trillion if we figure in that children whose education and healthcare have been negatively affected will contribute less to GDP once they are working adults.
These new economic findings have been further validated by a World Vision survey of nearly 400 Syrian adolescents and young adults in North West Syria, Lebanon and Jordan revealing the tremendous human costs of conflict. The burden of recovery after a protracted war is inevitably heaviest on those who were children, or were born, during it. By depriving children of education and by damaging their health, the war jeopardises the ability of Syria to recover.
More importantly, the impact of war and violence on children’s psychosocial well-being is immense.
Children and young people we spoke to are clear on what they want – an end to war in Syria. Syria’s youth want to protect the future of the generation coming after them, which they fear is also on the brink of being lost. They do not want promises, but a concrete and realisable commitment that can help them to restore their country, their lives and their hopes.
The findings of our report show that ultimately Syria’s children will bear the cost of conflict in Syria.
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