Statement on Syria by Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa

UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, October 1, 2013

AMMAN,1 October 2013

UNICEF is appalled by the reported deaths of at least 12 children in an air attack on a secondary school in Raqqa, north east Syria, on 29 September. Reports from the scene say a total of 14 people – most of them students — were killed in the attack on the Ibn Tufail Commercial Secondary School at around 8 a.m on Sunday — the first day of the new school year. Incidents like this underscore the dangers children face as they try to continue their education during the current conflict – and help explain why many parents will not risk sending their children to school. UNICEF has repeatedly called on all parties to the conflict to stop targeting schools, and instead recognize them as ‘zones of peace’ where children can seek support and sanctuary. UNICEF condemns this attack in the strongest terms and once again calls on all parties including the Government of Syria to protect children at all times from the effects of conflict.