Save the Children Calls for the Protection of Children in Evacuation of Besieged Daraya, Syria

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (August 27, 2016) — Save the Children is concerned about the fate of civilians being evacuated from the besieged town of Daraya, Syria. The movement of people to other areas of Damascus and to Idlib is ongoing today, with six buses apparently leaving this afternoon.

Sireen*, a teacher in Daraya, contacted Save the Children on Thursday night to say that families had no choice but to leave. She has previously said there are a high number of widows and orphans in the town. Sireen* said: "It’s obligatory, everyone is leaving, unfortunately, no one will stay in the town. The old people, the children, the young people, everyone has to leave. It’s a done deal."

Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Syria Director, said: "What we are seeing today in Daraya is nothing to be celebrated – the answer to sieges is not to forcibly evacuate civilians. People there have paid a high price to end the siege and now must be treated with dignity and respect.

"There are concerns for the safety and freedom of movement of civilians who are being transferred into shelters in government-held areas. Mothers are particularly worried for the fate of their teenage sons as they leave Daraya. Families should be allowed to stay together and children, in particular, need to be protected.

"There are still around 250,000 children living in besieged areas across Syria. It shouldn’t necessitate an entire community leaving their homes for families to get access to vital food, water and medical supplies. There is a humanitarian imperative to ensure sustained and regular access for aid convoys to all besieged towns."

(*Name changed to protect identity)

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