UN: At Least 56 Syrian Children Died While Fleeing ISIS Since December

Additional 175 children hospitalized due to severe acute malnutrition, UN official says

A woman and children wait along with others to be searched by members of the Syrian Democratic Forces after fleeing ISIS' last holdout of Baghouz, Syria, February 22, 2019.

At least 84 people, two thirds of them children, have died since December on their way to al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria after fleeing Islamic State in the Deir al-Zor region, the United Nations said on Friday. 

"There are reports of 175 children having been hospitalized due to medical symptoms from severe acute malnutrition," Jens Laerke, spokesman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), also told a news briefing, citing reports from UN agencies and aid groups on the ground. 

Some 13,000 people fled Deir al-Zor last week, many of them arriving at al-Hol, and the exodus continues on what is a "long and very tiring journey," he said. 

"Many of them have arrived exhausted, hungry and sick," he said, adding that nine out of 10 were women and children.

"It's a very long, a very tiring journey to this camp, so far have reports of more than 84 deaths on that road, on that stretch of territory. Two-thirds of those who have died are children under five years of age," Laerke said.

Some 175 children have been hospitalised due to severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening form of the disease, he said, citing reports from U.N. agencies and aid groups on the ground.