8 April 2015 – Syria’s Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp is a small snapshot of a wider war. But it presents the clearest of pictures of overwhelming distress and destruction, and the loudest of messages of the need to find a way out.  At least 3,500 children are today trapped inside Yarmouk.  Terre Des Hommes calls for immediate humanitarian access to the children and their families.

Yarmouk population under siege, bombed, starved and slaughtered.
From a once vibrant and dynamic place of hope, it is now a place of terror. There is no place to run and no safe haven for the Palestinians inside Syria.

“The protection of children and other civilians in the camp for ensuring humanitarian access to the area, including by providing life saving assistance and ensure safe passage and evacuation of the civilians is the immediate priority” says Ignacio Packer, Secretary General of Terre des Hommes.

Terre des Hommes calls for all countries to intervene immediately and work together to provide emergency relief and put an end to the bloodshed.

3,500 children at extreme risk of death, serious injury, trauma and displacement
Yarmouk, set up as a camp for Palestinian refugees decades ago and now a residential area housing Palestinians and Syrians, has been besieged by government forces for nearly two years.  It has been the scene of fierce clashes between groups taking rival sides in the Syrian conflict.  Shortages of food, water and medical supplies have caused serious suffering in the area.

Wednesday afternoon, intensive armed conflict has been ongoing between armed groups present in the area.  Armed groups are engaged in fierce fighting in areas where Yarmouk’s 18,000 civilians, including some 3,500 children reside.  This places them at extreme risk of death, serious injury, trauma and displacement.

Terre Des Hommes and the Syrian conflict
As they grow up in an environment marked by conflict and uncertainty, the children are most vulnerable to physical, psychological, domestic and sometimes sexual violence. Terre des Hommes has been on the ground from the onset of the Syrian crisis, as well as in neighbouring countries, to provide these children with essential support and protection, and to help them reclaim part of their lost childhood.

Four years of war in Syria have resulted in shocking figures: 7.6 million internally displaced persons in Syria and 3.8 million refugees in neighbouring countries. Half of the refugees are children who have fled on their own or with their families and left everything behind them.

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Terre des Hommes has been working in the Middle East with displaced children and their families since 1971 to offer them psychosocial support, basic necessities and recreational activities to try to give back to children some of the childhood that is being taken from them.