UNICEF: More than 80 percent of Syria children harmed by war

FILE -- In this May 29, 2014, file photo, Lujain Hourani, 11, a Syrian refugee girl who lost part of her shoulder in a government forces airstrike in the Syrian village of Zara, near Homs, stands outside her family room, at a collective center where many Syrian refugees live, in Kirbet Daoud village in Akkar north Lebanon. The U.N. agency for children says more than 80 percent of Syria's children have been harmed by the five-year-old conflict, including growing numbers forced to work, join armed groups or marry young because of widening poverty. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The U.N. agency for children says more than 80 percent of Syria’s children have been harmed by the five-year-old conflict, including growing numbers forced to work, join armed groups or marry young because of widening poverty.

UNICEF said Monday that one-third of Syrians under the age of 18, or about 3.7 million, were born since an uprising against President Bashar Assad erupted in 2011 and escalated into a civil war. The fighting has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced almost half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

The agency says nearly 7 million children in Syria now live in poverty.

UNICEF says it verified close to 1,500 grave violations against children in 2015, including killings and abductions. The agency says the actual figure is believed to be higher.

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