Orphans highlight ongoing cost of war

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SYRIA'S CHILDREN: Dozens of orphaned Syrian children pose in the Turkish city of Rihania Sunday to raise awareness of the 5.6 million children inside Syria living in the “most desperate” conditions.

An estimated 2.6 million children in Syria no longer attend school, with 2 million living in areas largely cut off from humanitarian aid, reported UNICEF last month.

“For the youngest children, this crisis is all they have ever known. For adolescents entering their formative years, violence and suffering have not only scarred their past; they are shaping their futures,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement.

Children continue to remain in the crosshairs of all armed parties to the Syrian conflict. A total of 131 children were killed over a series of 35 documented massacres in March, 32 committed by the regime, two by the Islamic State and one by opposition forces, according to an April report by the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

The Syrian Presidency posted to Facebook a series of photos of First Lady Asma al-Assad visiting orphans on last week.

“From the beginning they [orphans] were the most important priority…the war has not affected our interest in them,” reads the caption above the photos.

For the orphaned children in Rihania, Sunday’s photo-op came with a reward.

“The ceremony was essentially a number of activities and competitions for children, and we presented them with small gifts,” Mohammed Badr a-Din, one of the participants, told Syria Direct Monday.

-April 6, 2015

-Photo courtesy of Free Syrian Agency For Rescue

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