UN: Most Syrians stayed in Aleppo after gov’t recapture; Yemeni “children are witnessing death, war and destruction”

There were two noteworthy takeaways from the daily press briefing of the United Nations Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on January 11 — one on Syria and the other on Yemen.

Syria

Three-fourths of Syrians remained in Aleppo after the government recaptured it from al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-aligned rebels, according to the UN. Just one-fourth went to Idlib or the countryside.

The UN reported that, of the nearly 150,000 people from eastern Aleppo who were displaced from or returned to the area, more than 36,000 (25 percent) were evacuated to the western countryside of Aleppo and Idlib governorate, and more than 111,000 (75 percent) remained in different areas in Aleppo city.

Yemen

In the press briefing, the UN confirmed a US-backed, Saudi-led coalition attack on a school that killed and wounded a dozen civilians, including children.

The UN secretary-general spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, also reported, in chilling terms, “UNICEF said that this is the latest example of how attacks on civilian areas continue to kill and injure children in Yemen. Instead of learning, children are witnessing death, war and destruction, UNICEF says.”

Since the US-backed coalition launched its bombing campaign in March 2015, the UN has recorded the deaths of nearly 1,400 Yemeni children, Dujarric noted.

This is a very conservative estimate. The figure only counts violent deaths; it does not include the tens of thousands of children who have died from hunger and preventable diseases, which have been greatly exacerbated by the war and the coalition’s intentional bombing of civilian areas and food production facilities.

One Yemeni child dies every 10 minutes from preventable diseases, according to UNICEF. That is 1,000 deaths per week.