Syria’s Children of War

5 years of war
5 years too long

Syria’s 5-year-olds should be happily growing up and getting ready to start kindergarten. Instead, they’ve known only 5 years of war and suffering. Please help us give Syria’s children a chance for a future.

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What you need to know

  • 7.5 million Syrian children affected by war — population of Washington state 1

  • 2 million children missing out on school — all school-age kids in NYC, LA and Dallas combined 1

  • 13.5 million Syrians in need of humanitarian aid — population of Illinois1

  • Nearly 50% of Syrians fled their homes since 2011 1

  • 100 Syrians flee every hour, on average2

  • Hibaas


    Hibaas* lives in war-torn Syria, which has been at war since the day she was born. Instead of blowing out candles to celebrate her fifth birthday, she lives in a world filled with bombs blowing up schools, hospitals and aid caravans.

  • Abu


    Abu* holds the only toy he could take with him when he was forced to flee for his life. Still living inside Syria, his hometown was the site of military clashes and heavy bombardment.

  • Lara


    When the bombing started to close in on her town, Lara* and her family fled for safety with only the clothes on their backs. Before the war, Syrians had lives not unlike many in America and Europe. Now, but little five year old girls like Lara have spent most of their lives in tent cities without running water, electricity or steady source of food beyond charity rations.

  • Mahmoud


    Mahmoud* is a 5-year-old Syrian boy from Al-Raqqa, where five children perished when their school was bombed in an air strike late last year. He fled Syria and now attends our preschool program in a refugee community in Lebanon.

  • Omar


    When Omar* first escaped Syria, he suffered from severe malnutrition. Save the Children has helped thousands of girls and boys like Omar overcome malnutrition through emergency feeding and nutrition programs. Omar is now healthy and vibrant — and loves riding his bike!

Childhood: The Greatest Casualty of Syria’s War

While they should have been growing and learning during the critical first 5 years of life, Syria’s children have known only 5 long years of war.
Here’s the year-by-year account:





Year One

First steps

One of many happy milestones in a child’s first year of life 3

First shots

The terrifying sound children heard when Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011 5



Year Two

A dozen words

What a child learns by age 2, plus how to walk, run and jump 4

Dozens of children

The number reported in 2012 to have been used as human shields 6



Year Three


The kinds of shapes 3-year-olds like to sort, while playing with puzzles and games 4


Weapons used in civilian attacks killing 426 innocent children in 2013 7



Year Four


What a child starts to recognize by age 4, while singing songs and learning stories 4


Explosive weapons targeted on schools, leaving 1.6 million children unable to learn in 2014 8



Year Five


How many objects 5-year-olds can count, plus proudly say their name and address 8


The shocking photo of Alan Kurdi, whose tiny body washed ashore in 2015 9

How We’re Helping

Save the Children has helped more than 3.8 million people in the region — 1.6 million inside Syria. Despite the dangers inside Syria, Save the Children has provided 10

Fundraise for us

Inside an informal camp, a woman in a Save the Children shirt smiles at a small child she is holding
  • 130,000 people with clean water

  • 34,500 children with a place to learn

  • 3,500 emergency patients with care each week

  • 145,000 people with warm clothes and shelter

  • 16 centers supporting traumatized children

How You Can Help


Syria’s children can’t wait — they desperately need help now. If generous people like you support our relief efforts, then we can protect and provide for more girls and boys. Here is what your gift can provide:

  • FRESH FOOD $50 a fresh food basket for a young family

  • NEW BABY KIT $100 a new baby kit, with blankets and diapers

  • LEARNING $150 teacher tools to keep kids learning

  • PLAYING $200 games and toys so kids can be kids again

  • SHELTER $250 a household kit to keep a family safe and warm

You Can Help

Inside Syria’s
Besieged Areas

A new report from Save the Children reveals that barrel bombs, air strikes and shelling are the biggest issues for the more than a quarter of a million children estimated to be living in besieged areas in Syria. Parents testify to the horror of family life under siege, not only dealing with the psychological impact on children terrified of explosions, but the dire consequences of being deprived of food, basic medicine and clean water.

Download the Report

Report Cover: Childhood Under Seige

Learn More About Syria and Our Response

Inside Syria, the United Nations estimates there are 6.5 million displaced people in besieged or hard-to-reach areas. Many live in dire need in abandoned buildings, open spaces and in informal camps mainly in the north near the border with Turkey, where there are few or no services available. Many Syrian refugees have joined the exodus of refugees to Europe. Currently, more than 4.7 registered Syrian refugees have fled the violence in their home country.

Those who remain in the Middle East face bleak conditions, lack of access to critical services and the right to work. Some families are resorting to such negative coping strategies as eating less, marrying off girl children and sending children to work in exploitative labor.

A smiling child sits on a blanket

Sources of Facts and Statistics About Syria

  1. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). "2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview." October 18, 2015. Accessed February 29, 2016.
  2. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "Syria Regional Refugee Response - Regional Overview." Accessed February 29, 2016.
  3. Rauh, Sherry. "Is Your Baby on Track?." WebMD. Accessed February 29, 2016.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Developmental Milestones." Accessed February 29, 2016.
  5. Al Jazeera. "Timeline of Syria’s raging war." August 9, 2014. Accessed February 29, 2016.
  6. CNN Wire Staff. "U.N. report: Syrian children tortured, used as human shields." Last Modified June 12, 2012. Accessed February 29, 2016.
  7. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. "Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013." August 30, 2013. Accessed February 29, 2016.
  8. Hartberg, Martin, Dominic Bowen, and Daniel Gorevan. "Failing Syria." March 2015. Accessed February 29, 2016.
  9. Gunter, Joel. "Alan Kurdi death: A Syrian Kurdish family forced to flee." BBC News. September 4, 2015. Accessed February 29, 2016.
  10. Save the Children. "Crisis in Syria: Save the Children Providing Aid for Children and Families Displaced by Conflict." January 2016. Accessed February 29, 2016.

*In keeping with best practices in child protection and safeguarding of minors in times of conflict, all children’s names have been changed to protect their identities. In some cases children’s identifies have been completely obscured, because of the risk to themselves and their families.

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