More than 19,000 children have been killed in Syria since March 2011, claims a human rights group. Around 92 per cent of them were killed by regime forces, while an estimated 12,000 children have been detained by the authorities or “forcibly disappeared”.
In a report entitled “Syria’s Children… the drowning hope”, the Syrian Human Rights Network has documented the deaths of 18,858 children who were killed by Syrian regime troops. The victims include 582 children who were shot by snipers and 101 who died under torture in detention. The report said that the number of children detained by the Assad regime is 10,413; a further 1,850 have simply disappeared. Children make up about 7 per cent of the total number of victims in Syria. The group stressed that this is regarded as a very high percentage but, it claims, government troops target civilians “deliberately”.
The Syrian Human Rights Network pointed out that 20,000 children in the country have lost their father; 5,000 have lost their mother. While there are reports that the regime has recruited “hundreds” of children for “direct” and “indirect” involvement in combat operations, the network revealed that at least 2.1 million Syrian children are being deprived of an education.
With regards to war crimes committed by Daesh, the network’s report listed them as indiscriminate shelling, murder, torture, sexual violence, enforced conscription and turning schools into troop emplacements. It estimates that the number of children killed by Daesh at 229, with almost 600 detained by the extremists. Al-Nusrah Front, meanwhile, is said to have killed 46 children and detained “at least” 84.
Violations recorded by Kurdish forces in the regions under Kurdish control include extrajudicial killings, conscription and the killing of 46 children.
The network accuses international coalition forces of killing 75 children since the beginning of their attacks on 23 September last year; Russian forces have killed 86 children since 30 July this year.
Beyond violence and atrocities committed against children, the report also noted that children born to refugees in host countries are being denied citizenship rights. At least 117,000 children have been born in refugee camps and many of them have not yet obtained any official documentation.
“The Syrians face a humanitarian crisis,” concluded the report. “It is also a crisis of human rights, although it is often depicted as a geopolitical crisis in a bid to escape the reality of the situation in the country.”
The network demanded that the international community should implement UN Security Council resolutions, as the minimum to be expected, including resolutions 2139 and 2165 pertaining to the delivery of humanitarian aid; children in the besieged regions (Al-Ghoutah, Al-Sharqiya and Dariya) are still dying of hunger and cold.
“All countries that aid the Syrian government and provide it with funds, weapons and militias are accomplices in the war crimes that are being perpetrated,” said the human rights group. The report called for the prosecution of all those who are involved in and suspected of these crimes and for the file on the situation inside Syria to be forwarded to the International Court of Justice Prosecutor General.
Source: Arabi21, 24 November, 2015