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Death of children fleeing Syria is a ‘human tragedy’, says MENA UNICEF director

A Syrian refugee removes snow from tents at a makeshift settlement in Bar Elias, in the Bekaa valley. (REUTERS)
BEIRUT: The death of children fleeing Syria due to extreme cold weather at the Syrian-Lebanese border is a “humanitarian tragedy for the world to stop,” Khairat Kabalari, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa has said.
“It is tragic that more than a dozen Syrians, including two children, have died in eastern Lebanon near the border crossing with Syria — the Syrians are risking their lives and the lives of their children in an attempt to escape,” Kabalari added.
He praised the efforts of the Lebanese authorities in searching for those who are still trapped in the mountains in freezing temperatures.
He said his organization is working in cooperation with a group of partners to help families cope with the harsh weather by distributing blankets and winter clothes and fueling schools.
The number of Syrians who have died trying to flee their war-torn country into neighboring Lebanon during a snowstorm had risen to at least 13, the United Nations said on Saturday.
A group of Syrians, including children, had tried to enter neighboring Lebanon late on Thursday through a smuggling route but were caught in a fierce storm.
The Lebanese army and civil defense said on Friday they had retrieved the bodies of 10 Syrians, including two children and six women.

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