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Horrifying figures

Mar 14,2017 - Last updated at Mar 14,2017

UNICEF painted a grim picture of the suffering of children in war-ravaged Syria, where the number of children killed, maimed or recruited as soldiers reached an unprecedented level in 2016.

The UN agency for children, which monitors the situation of children worldwide, found that the suffering of children in war-torn Syria “hit rock bottom” in 2016 when the highest number of grave violations were recorded against them since verification began in 2014.

“The depth of suffering is unprecedented. Millions of children in Syria come under attack on a daily basis, their lives turned upside down,” said UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa in a news release announcing the study “Hitting Rock Bottom — How 2016 became the worst year for Syria’s children”. 

According to UNICEF, at least 652 children were killed in Syria in 2016, an alarming 20 per cent increase over 2015. 

More than 850 Syrian children were lured to become soldiers and 2.3 million are now living as refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

This is not to mention the thousands of Syrian children forced into child marriage, which, frankly, amounts to little less than slavery.

And the count can only continue as long as there is war. 

Since the start of the civil war in the country, in 2011, about 400,000 Syrians have been killed.

When so many people are killed, many more are injured and many more others are rendered displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries and beyond, it is clear that children emerge as a prime casualty of the war.

A solution to the plight of Syrian children cannot be attained without an end to the fight in the country.

And when it does end, all those guilty of the dismal state of affairs — of children, of women and the elderly, of the injured, of the country as a whole — and of the huge number of dead will have to be held accountable, as should the countries and terrorist parties that contributed to worsening a horrible situation. 

 

Syria is not a state party to the International Criminal Court, but the international community could consider creating a special ad hoc international tribunal on Syria to investigate violations of human rights and humanitarian law, bring to justice all those implicated in their commission and finally help heal the bleeding wounds of the country.

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