NEW YORK, 9th March, 2016 (WAM) — A report published by the Save the Children fund yesterday found that children living in besieged areas of Syria face hunger, scant access to medicine and potentially lasting psychological impacts as the conflict nears its fifth anniversary.

The report, which is based on interviews conducted with Syrians living under siege, estimates that more than 250,000 children are affected by violence and deprivation in besieged areas.

According to the DPA, Deutsche Presse Agency, a Syrian humanitarian aid worker, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity at the launch of the report, said that people do not have access to basic necessities such as bread. “Bread for Syrians is a very, very important aspect of life – you eat bread with everything,” the aid worker said, adding that availability of bread is one of the main issues that have been problematic.

The local aid worker, who lives 15 minutes away from a besieged area, said the lack of food has driven many to develop “arts of survival” such as cooking soup using grass. The aid worker noted that during the winter, children have been seen running towards buildings hit by barrel bombs to collect destroyed furniture to use as fuel for cooking and heating.

The aid worker praised the efforts of Syrians striving to provide aid and education to children. “As a Syrian, it is important for me to participate in the humanitarian response. I believe that rebuilding has already started – it is how you educate a child,” the aid worker said.

Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s regional Syria director, said that Syrian children might face long-term effects from the war that has been dragging and about to enter its sixth year.

“There’s a real culture of war that these children are growing up in and it’s hard to estimate what long-term impact this is going to have on them,” she said.

“What kind of children are going to come out of these areas?”

However, she noted that communities living under siege have asked for support to start farming because they want to become self-sufficient instead of relying on international aid.

“They actually want to be able to rebuild their own lives,” Khush said.

WAM/Rasha/Moran