The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that more than 28,000 Syrian children have been killed in Syria since March 2011, mostly at the hands of the Assad regime and its Russian ally. It stressed that no reconstruction can take place in Syria without stability and the protection of children.
In a report issued on the occasion of the Universal Children’s Day, which falls on November 20, the monitoring group said that the Assad regime was responsible for the death of no fewer than 22,444 Syrian children in the period between mid-March 2011 and November 20, 2018. Of those, 196 children were killed in chemical weapons attacks, while 394 others were killed in attacks with the use of cluster munitions and the remnants of these munitions.
The figure also included 301 children who starved to death in the areas that were under brutal siege by the Assad regime forces.
The Network went on to say that it had compiled a list of the names of 3,155 children who have been detained by the Assad regime since March 2011 and whose fate is still unknown. Rights activists said that the figure is likely higher as the Assad regime imposes a media blackout on the issue of detainees.
According to the report, Russian forces have killed at least 1,872 Syrian children since the start of the Russian direct military intervention in Syria on September 30, 2015. The victims included 46 children who died in 232 cluster munitions attacks, which also destroyed 173 schools. The Russian attacks have also led to the mass forced displacement of tens of thousands of children. The attacks are part of the Assad regime’s policies aimed at the forced displacement and demographic change.
The report indicated that up to 886 children have been killed in airstrikes by the international anti-ISIS coalition forces since the start of its intervention in Syria on September 23, 2014. The Network said that the attacks targeted 24 schools in Syria.
Moreover, at least 167 children have been killed in attacks by the militia of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) since January 2014. The militia has also detained and forcibly disappeared no fewer than 588 children, excluding the children that the militia detained to forcibly recruit into its ranks.
The victims also included over 837 children who were killed by the ISIS extremist group which also detained 396 children whose fate is still unknown.
The Network pointed out that the Assad regime and its allies’ systematic murder, torture and sexual violence against children constituted war crimes against humanity that are punishable by international law as they violated Article VII of the Rome Statute.
The Syrian Coalition earlier stressed the need to launch serious investigation into the war crimes and crimes against humanity and childhood taking place in Syria. It called for the perpetrators to be brought before the International Criminal Court, calling for helping the forcibly displaced people, including children, to live in peace and for providing them with protection. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)