UNICEF Calls for Immediate and Safe Return of Abducted Schoolboys in Syria

July 2, 2014

Statement attributable to Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa

NEW YORK (July 2, 2014) “UNICEF is following with grave concern the situation of some 140 Kurdish schoolboys between 14 and 16 years old who were reportedly kidnapped in northern Syria last month by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“All of them, with the exception of four who escaped, are still in captivity. It has been over four weeks since the children were abducted as they returned to their hometown of Ayn al-Arab, after taking their junior high school final exams in Aleppo. 
“These children have nothing to do with the war raging in Syria. They just wanted to finish their exams and go back to their families.
“The abduction, recruitment and use of children in hostilities are grave child rights violations.
“UNICEF expresses its deepest solidarity with the families of the abducted children. Those who commit such crimes must be held accountable.
“It is disheartening and inconceivable that children have to endure such brutal acts of violence and be forced to participate in this war.”

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org