Syria Children Killed, Forced to Fight In Record Numbers

Posted March 16, 2017

The grim report adds that 6 million children in Syria depend on humanitarian aid, but about 250,000 children remain in besieged areas, cut off from receiving aid.

The conflict Syria enters its sixth year this Wednesday and there seems to be no relief in sight for the youngest victims of this protracted civil war. More than 850 children were pushed into combat in 2016, twice as many as in 2015, UNICEF reported.

At least 652 children died previous year - more than a third of whom were in or near a school - research from the children's charity shows.

"The depth of suffering is unprecedented", said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF's Middle East regional chief. "Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being, and future".

At least 652 children died in Syria's civil war in 2016, more than in any of the prior five years and a 20 percent increase over 2015, UNICEF reported Monday.

There were 87 attacks on schools or education personnel past year, and 225 children were killed at or near school. Those recruited increasingly found themselves on the frontline, or in extreme cases used as executioners, suicide bombers or prison guards.

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UNICEF said that the data included in the report comprised exclusively of verified cases, and that the actual scale of the suffering documented was likely to be higher. More than 1.7 million children are out of school, and one in three schools have been either destroyed or repurposed to shelter displaced families or to serve the military. Rates of child labor, early marriage, and child recruitment are increasing, UNICEF wrote.

She told the Press Association: "2016 has been the worst for the children of Syria".

On 13th March, UNICEF released a new assessment of what it calls "grave violations against children in Syria".

There are 2.8 million children in hard-to-reach areas, "including 280,000 children living under siege, nearly completely cut off from humanitarian aid", UNICEF reported.

"After six years of war we are at a tipping point, after which the impact on children's formative years and childhood development may be so great that the damage could be permanent and irreversible", said Dr. Marcia Brophy, a senior mental health adviser with Save the Children. "I dream of a world without any wars".