The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Syrian war’s horrific toll on children

An man carries an injured child following a reported air strike by Syrian government forces on Feb. 17 in the Hanano district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. The death toll in nearly three years of conflict in Syria has risen to more than 140,000 people, including nearly 50,000 civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said last week. (Zein Al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images)

The details couldn’t be more jarring.

When children have arrived at Syrian hospitals, their limbs have been amputated because facilities were too damaged to treat them properly.

Newborns have died in incubators because of power outages. And some patients have asked to be “knocked out with metal bars” because there wasn’t any anesthesia available.

The numbers, according to a Save the Children report released Sunday, are just as bad.

Following more than three years of civil war in Syria, violence has killed more than 10,000 children. More than 1.2 million have fled the conflict. And another 4.3 million need humanitarian aid. But, as the report points out, it’s not just violence tha has crippled the country, but its crumbling medical services. “It is not just the bullets and the shells that are killing and maiming children,” Save the Children said.

“They are dying from the lack of basic medical care.”

Nearly half the nation’s doctors have fled the country. Nearly two-thirds of the hospitals have been damaged or destroyed.

Nowhere has the story been worse than Aleppo, which was once home to 2,500 doctors. Today, the report says only 36 remain.

The report draws its conclusions from data provided by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Doctors Without Borders and the Syrian government.

“What we’re seeing is that the focus in the public discourse is the fighting and the political situation, but what we see really missing is the human impact,” Misty Buswell, the group’s regional advocacy director, told the New York Times. “So many children are dying and being injured and maimed, so we wanted this report to bring the focus back.”