The year 2017 was one of the worst years for children caught in conflicts and besieged areas, the United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF has warned.
Rights groups have documented the deaths of thousands of Syrian children by the Assad regime during military operations against the liberated areas through its indiscriminate use of internationally banned weapons and chemical weapons as well as other tactics such as besiegement and starvation of the civilian population.
“In Iraq and Syria, children have reportedly been used as human shields, trapped under siege, targeted by snipers and lived through intense bombardment and violence,” UNICEF said in a press release issued on Thursday.
From being deployed as human shields to act as suicide bombers, children have become targets on a huge scale, UNICEF added.
The UN children agency pointed out that parties to conflicts around the world were blatantly disregarding international humanitarian law and children were routinely coming under attack.
It went on to say that thousands of Syrian children had lost their lives, siblings, caregivers and homes.
A previous study by UNICEF indicated that tens of thousands of Syrian children suffer permanent disabilities, while hundreds of thousands more are now trapped in besieged areas. Moreover, out of around one million children who fled to neighboring countries, some 8,000 were unaccompanied.
According to a report the Syrian Network for Human Rights issued in mid-November, more than 26,500 Syrian children had been killed by the violence in Syria since March 2011, of which 21,500 were killed by the Assad regime.
The Network called upon the international community to ensure protection for Syrian children, especially the displaced and refugees in line with the Convention on Child Rights signed in 1989. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)