384 Children Killed in Bloody Syrian Uprising

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By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
January 27, 2012|4:00 pm

At least 384 children have been killed since the uprising against the Assad regime began in Syria almost a year ago.

The numbers, provided by UNICEF, paint a grim picture for children in the conflict-ridden country.

Within the last 10 months hundreds of children have been detained and schools are increasingly being turned into detention centers where children and adults alike face severe and brutal torture by government forces.

Sexual violence against children has become rife in the detention centers and dozens of children have died as security forces shot indiscriminately into crowds.

The reports on children are the latest to come out of Syria, which has been facing an increasingly bloody uprising for the last 10 months.

The Syrian uprising began last March when Syrians initiated protests against the regime of President Bashir al-Assad, hoping to end five decades of Arab Socialist Ba'athist rule in the country.

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Since August the government crackdown on dissidents has progressively gotten worse and with a recent Arab League pullout, some analysts have suggested that the country is on the brink of civil war.

Despite international condemnation for the violence used against civilians, Assad and his security forces have shown no sign of relinquishing power, responding to protests and calls on behalf of the international community with even more brutal force.

As part of the brutal crackdown on dissidents, the Assad regime and its forces are directly targeting children.

Although many deaths of children are incidental and part of the wider conflict in the country, research indicates that in some cases children are being directly targeted in the violence.

In one case, a two-year-old girl was killed in the popular tourist destination of Latakia by a security official who said he did not want the child to grow up to become a demonstrator, according to a November U.N. Human Rights Council report.

Detention centers have been home to hundreds of children who have faced indiscriminate cruelty within the facilities.

"People had their feet and hands bound with plastic handcuffs. They were beaten mercilessly, including 10-year-old children. Some children urinated out of fear while they were being beaten," a defector told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Ala Sassila, of the Syrian American Council, an organization that works to improve human rights, liberties, and development in the conflict-ridden country told The Christian Post that children have been drastically impacted by the violence.

"The number of kids that have been killed during the last month or two months has escalated, " Sassila said. "I believe, in my opinion, the regime is doing this as part of their campaign to stop the protests against them."

Sassila believes the numbers projected by UNICEF are a low estimate and argues that forces of the regime may sometimes even choose to escalate the situation when knowing children are present.

The exact situation and violence is difficult to verify as media restrictions prevent journalists and experts from going into the country, but recent comments from an Arab League observer is telling.

"What I saw was a humanitarian disaster. The regime isn't committing one war crime but a series of crimes against people. Child are killed and they are starved and terrorized," the observer told the AFP.

Long time Syrian ally, Russia, who would also like to quell an upsurge in protests in its own country, has blocked the passage of resolutions in the U.N. Security Council that call for the resignation of Assad.

Without a U.N. Security resolution and barred access to the country, aiding those most in need is virtually impossible and death and destruction have become a daily staple in the lives of the Syrian people.

"We need to move as a country here, as well as other countries against the Syrian regime, and we cannot wait because Russia has decided to support this regime," Sassila told CP.

"If Russia decides to continue its actions, I think we do what we've done in Kosovo and other places and try to do something where we don't need to get a United Nations resolution, because Russia is going to continue blocking any resolution."

 

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