Save the Children Australia’s Director of Policy and International Programs, Mat Tinkler said:
“The situation for children living inside North East Syria is becoming increasingly desperate.
“Scores of children under the age of five have now died either en route or on arrival in the camps, and there are unconfirmed reports that several foreign children have died in recent weeks. Many children are sick and malnourished.
“All children associated with ISIS are victims of the conflict and must be treated as such. We seek to ensure Australian children trapped in Syria are not punished for the crimes of their parents.
“Australia, and other countries, must take responsibility for their citizens, especially children. They must follow the lead of countries like France, which recently repatriated five orphaned children from North East Syria. The Syrian conflict has already claimed the lives of far too many children, and more are now surviving with their lives at a significant risk.
“It is entirely within the Australian Government’s power to bring these children home and we urge them to do so immediately.
“The perilous situation faced by these children underscores the need for countries of origin to urgently ensure the safety of their citizens and repatriate them, while continuing to support the humanitarian work in Syria and surrounding countries.”
Save the Children estimates there are more than 3,500 foreign children, including Australian citizens, living in Syrian camps for former IS members.
For media inquiries contact Evan Schuurman on 0406 117 937.