Number of Syria child refugees reaches one million

  • 23 August 2013
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Two stories of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

The number of child refugees forced to flee the war in Syria has reached one million, according to the United Nations.

The UN says children make up half of all refugees trying to escape Syria.

Three quarters of the children are under 11 years old and 80 percent don't go to school.

Since the conflict started in 2011, children and families have been trying to escape the war by fleeing to refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

"The youth of Syria are losing their homes, their family members and their futures," said UN high commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres.

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Leah reports as the Syrian child refugee crisis reaches one million

Most of the children have arrived in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, the UN says, and now Syrians are starting to flee to North Africa and Europe.

It says more than 1.7million people have registered as refugees since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

But according to the BBC's Jim Muir in Lebanon's capital, Beirut, many more Syrian children are living on the streets there - not registered as refugees and so not part of the official statistics, and as a result, they have no access to aid from charities.

"We must all share the shame," said Unicef executive director Anthony Lake, "because while we work to alleviate the suffering of those affected by this crisis, the global community has failed in its responsibility to this child.

"We should stop and ask ourselves how, in all conscience, we can continue to fail the children of Syria."