Fears of underage marriage for Syrian girls

World vision has voiced concern about the risk of Syrian girls as young as 12 being married off.

Families forced to flee Syria are reverting to desperate means in order to protect and provide for their children as a result of the humanitarian crisis in the country, the Christian development agency warns.

As the conflict in Syria deepens, the number of refugees fleeing Syria is increasing daily, with families arriving in Lebanon and Jordan.

The UN estimates a million of Syrian refugees need help, around 80% being women and children.

World Vision fears parents taking refuge in Lebanon and Jordan are considering marrying off their daughters because of the desperate conditions.

Many people are running out of money and some may feel that an early marriage is the only solution for their daughters.

Erica Hall, Senior Child Rights Policy Advisor at World Vision, explained: "During a conflict like the one in Syria, families lose everything.

"They've been stripped of their homes, jobs and savings - but also community structures like schools, friends and family that helped keep their children safe.

"It's hard for parents to know where the next meal is going to come from and how they can protect their children from danger, including the very real threat of sexual violence.

 "Parents will feel incredibly vulnerable and may believe a husband will be able to protect their daughter from these threats and to better provide for their remaining children too.

"But early marriages have long term, negative impacts on girls' health, wellbeing and future."

World Vision is working to provide food, clean water, hygiene kits, blankets, fuel and safe places for children.

World Vision is a member of The Disasters Emergency Committee, whose appeal
for the Syria Crisis has so far raised more than £5million.

To donate visit http://www.dec.org.uk