SCOTS are being urged to remember Syrians whose lives have been torn apart by the country’s brutal war on the 10th anniversary of the conflict today.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) says that during that time numbers equivalent to more than twice the population of Scotland have fled their homes. As many as 12,000 children have been killed and wounded and, in what is the biggest refugee crisis on record, Syrians account for almost one-third of all refugees worldwide.

Almost the entire population of Syria (80%) now lives below the poverty line and an estimated three million have some form of disability or lifelong impairment due to a combination of violence and a broken health system.

Syrians now also face the impact of the coronavirus and those in refugee camps and informal settlements are at particular risk due to the lack of safe water and the ability to social distance.

Sciaf director Alistair Dutton said: “The Syrian war is taking an unimaginable toll on the lives of women, men and children caught up in this major humanitarian crisis.

“A whole generation of children is growing up knowing nothing but war and destitution, and more than half of Syrian children are missing out on an education. Sadly, these children also account for four out of five Syrian refugees.

“They represent the future, the hope for a ‘new Syria’ and the responsibility of rebuilding Syria will fall on them. These children and their families cannot be forgotten and desperately need our help.”

The Scottish charity head has also stressed that more needs to be done on an international level to help find a resolution to this protracted war.

Dutton added: “The Syrian conflict shows no signs of ending and the UK and the international community must put aside their differences and do everything they can to bring an end to the conflict in Syria and the suffering of millions of Syrians. Ten years is already too long and has caused untold damage. This must stop now.”

This month, the UK government announced it’s considering cutting humanitarian aid to Syria by 67%, and to Lebanon the second biggest recipient of Syrian refugees, by 88%.

The news was strongly condemned by Sciaf together with more than a hundred charities, as well as Conservative MPs and the leaders of opposition parties. The planned cuts will hit the world’s most vulnerable people hardest.