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On 25 December 2015 in Aleppo in the Syrian Arab Republic, (left)  Esraa, 4, and (right)  her brother Waleed, 3, sit on the ground near a shelter for internally displaced persons.

14 March 2016 - An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children ñ 1 in 3 of all Syrian children - have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes 306,000 children born as refugees since 2011. In total, UNICEF estimates that some 8.4 million children - more than 80 per cent of Syriaís child population - are now affected by the conflict, either inside the country or as refugees in neighbouring countries. ìIn Syria, violence has become commonplace, reaching homes, schools, hospitals, clinics, parks, playgrounds and places of worship,î said Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEFís Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. ìNearly 7 million children live in poverty, making their childhood one of loss and deprivation.î
 
According to ìNo Place for Childrenî, UNICEF verified nearly 1,500 grave violations against children in 2015. More than 60 per cent of these violations were instances of killing and maiming as a result of explosive weapons used in populated areas. More than one-third of these children were killed while in school or on their way to or from school. In Syriaís neighbouring countries, the number of refugees is nearly 10 times higher today than in 2012. Half of all refugees are children. More than 15,000 unaccompanied and separated children have crossed Syriaís borders. ìFive years into the war, millions of children have grown up too fast and way ahead of their time,î Salama said. ìAs the war continues, children are fighting an adult war, they are continuing to drop out of school, and many are forced into labour, while girls are marrying early.î
 
In the earlier years of the conflict, most of the children recruited by armed forces and groups were UNICEF/Al-Issa
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