According to UNICEF, the Syrian city of Aleppo is currently the most dangerous city in the world for children. As Syria continues to be at war for the fifth year running, the number of casualties is at an all-time high.
According to recent UNICEF reports, almost 300,000 innocent civilians are stuck in rebel-held parts of Aleppo, and 100,000 of them are children.
According to a report by UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura, around 400,000 lives have already been lost in the ongoing armed civil conflict in Syria, which started as a rebellion against Syrian Bashar Al-Assad in 2011. As Syrian and Russian forces continue to clash with rebel forces, the situation in Aleppo is worsening every passing day.
Just recently, a combined Russian and Syrian air strike in Aleppo killed 25 civilians, leaving close to two million civilians trapped in the city without water.
In the past week, some 1,900 bombs have been dropped on Aleppo, according to a report in The Indian Express. The increased bombardment has followed the collapse in ceasefire in Aleppo between rebel and state force on September 17.
Since then, 96 children have lost their lives among 320 civilians. According to WHO statistics, of the total 840 injured civilians since the ceasefire collapsed, a third are children.
The Russian and Syrian bombardment has caused immense destruction, especially to hospitals, schools and other civic bodies, such as headquarters of NGOs and rights groups. The trapped children have limited access to nutritious food and schooling, and lead lives constantly fogged with fear of ground offensives or shelling.
Bunker busting bombs employed by the state forced to destroy underground rebel bastions also means that civilians have no place to hide anymore. Unable to ensure their safety, Syrian parents constantly fear for the lives of their children. Women and children form a large part of the casualties since they are the ones staying at home.
Apart from the official figures, rights groups report that several casualties go unreported as some people bury their dead without reporting them in hospitals or government outposts.
Even as heartbreaking images of children in Syria continue to flood social media and news channels, provoking worldwide outrage, the relentless bombardment from both sides means that the children in Syria are still under siege, with no sign of visible reprieve.