Tuesday, February 20, 2018

UN: 'Unspeakable suffering' for Syria's children

BEIRUT — Children in Syria have been tortured, sexually abused and subjected to "indiscriminate" attacks by President Bashar Assad's forces, and recruited for combat and terror operations by the rebels fighting to topple him during the country's nearly 3-year-old conflict, a new United Nations report said.

The report to the U.N. Security Council by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon highlights the plight of children in the conflict from the beginning of the uprising against Assad in March 2011 until Nov. 15, 2013. It was given to the council this week and posted on the U.N. website Tuesday.

Ban said Syrian children have been subjected to "unspeakable and unacceptable" suffering during that time. "Violations must come to an end now," he said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government missed another deadline for destroying its chemical weapons Wednesday, but pledged to complete the process by June 30.

Under a timetable set up by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Syria was to have given up its entire stockpile of chemical weapons by Wednesday. Last week, a U.S. diplomat said Syria had removed only 4 percent of its most deadly chemicals so far. All should have been removed by Dec. 31 under the framework.

The uprising against Assad's rule began with largely peaceful protests in 2011 but evolved in time into a bloody civil war that has killed more than 10,000 children — according to U.N. estimates — and more than 130,000 people, according to activists. Millions of Syrians have been driven from their homes, seeking shelter in neighboring countries or in safer parts of their homeland.

The conflict has hit the country's children hard.

In the early stages, Ban said, violations against children were committed largely by Syria's armed forces, intelligence forces and allied Shabiha militia but as the conflict intensified and the opposition became more organized, an increasing number of violations committed by Free Syrian Army-affiliated groups were documented.

The report said the "disproportionate and indiscriminate" use of weapons and military tactics by government forces and associated militias "has resulted in countless killings and the maiming of children, and has obstructed children's access to education and health services."

Children as young as 10 have been detained on suspicion of having links with armed groups, the report said, citing the arrest of a large number of boys and girls, mainly between the ages of 10 and 12 in August 2012 in Kfarzita village in Hama province by Syrian troops, who the report says used them as human shields.

Ban's report said armed opposition groups also engaged in "the summary execution of children." It said U.N. investigators have not been able to reach many of the rebel-held areas for lack of security there, and consequently have been unable to further investigate and document those violations but "trends are believed to be much higher than the number of recorded cases."

Comments

Activists: Syria's shelling of Damascus suburb killed 98

Syrian activists, paramedics say 98 people were killed in government shelling of rebel-held Damascus suburbs on Monday
Updated: 4 minutes ago

Here is the latest Florida sports news from The Associated Press

Here is the latest Florida sports news from The Associated Press
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Thai protesters win agreement for new reviews of coal plants

Thai protesters win agreement for new reviews of coal plants

Thailand's energy minister has told protesters that the health and environmental impacts of two planned coal-fired power plants in the south will be reassessed impartially, an announcement the group termed a victory
Updated: 5 minutes ago
The Latest: Curler feels cheated by medalist's positive test

The Latest: Curler feels cheated by medalist's positive test

A Norwegian curler who lost out on the Olympic bronze medal to a Russian charged with doping says he feels horrible knowing they may have been cheated out of a medal
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Students head to Florida capital to press for gun law change

Students head to Florida capital to press for gun law change

A hundred Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students to head by bus to Florida's capital to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of massacre that claimed 17 lives
Updated: 16 minutes ago

Syrian activists, paramedics say 98 people were killed in government shelling of rebel-held Damascus suburbs on Monday

Syrian activists, paramedics say 98 people were killed in government shelling of rebel-held Damascus suburbs on Monday
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Joint Koreas hockey team ends historic Olympic run

Joint Koreas hockey team ends historic Olympic run

'An amazing group': Korean women's hockey team ends its historic Olympic run with a fifth straight loss, with thousands of fans shouting 'We are one' and waving a unification flag
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Skating coach making emotional return to South Korea

Skating coach making emotional return to South Korea

Renowned skating coach Kim Muir is returning to South Korea to cheer for clients playing hockey at the Olympics
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Joint Koreas hockey team ends historic Olympic run

Joint Koreas hockey team ends historic Olympic run

'An amazing group': Korean women's hockey team ends its historic Olympic run with a fifth straight loss, with thousands of fans shouting 'We are one' and waving a unification flag
Updated: 18 minutes ago

German man fined $258,000 for cheating at self-service till

A German man has been fined 208,000 euros ($258,000) for cheating at a supermarket self-service till
Updated: 1 hour ago