UN report details 'unspeakable' horrors endured by Syrian children

Children have been subjected to sexual violence, arbitrary detentions and used in combat

Syrian children have been raped, tortured and used in combat as human shields, the United Nations said in a damming report detailing the horrors of the on-going civil war.

Covering the period from March 2011 to November 2013, the report found children as young as 11 have been subjected to beatings with metal cables, whips and batons, ripping out of fingernails and electric shocks, including to the genitals. In the most brutal cases, some of them witnessed the torture of relatives and mock executions.

Sexual violence, including rape or the threat of rape, was reportedly used to "humiliate, harm and force confessions".

The report cited the case of a 16-year old who was arrested with five other boys aged 13 to 15 at a checkpoint near his school and detained in a centre run by intelligence forces. The teenager allegedly witnessed his 14-year old male friend being sexually assaulted and then killed.

The UN said it received allegations of sexual violence by armed opposition groups but was unable to corroborate them given the "lack of access."

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said:"The suffering endured by the children in the Syrian Arab Republic since the outset of the conflict, as documented in this report, is unspeakable and unacceptable."

The battle for Homs: No relief in sight for Syrian city where neither side wants to hand the other a victory  

The UN accused both sides of the conflict of committing "grave violations" against children. Government troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad were largely responsible for the attacks in the early stages of war, it said, but as the conflict intensified, rebels "became more organised" and carried out similar assaults on children.

Known perpetrators of attacks on children  include the Syrian Armed Forces; Syrian intelligence forces, such as the Syrian Military Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence, the National Security Bureau, the Political Security Directorate and the General Intelligence Directorate, the report said.

While the UN could not confirm the recruitment of children by government forces, it said Assad troops were responsible for the arrest and arbitrary detentions of children with some of them being used as human shields in combat.  Opposition groups have both recruited and used children in support roles and in combat, the report said.

Diplomatic Channels: Assad and the rebels may be deadlocked but their backers aren't  

"Of particular concern were cases of recruitment or attempted recruitment of children within refugee populations in neighboring countries, " Ban added. " The majority of incidents were related to recruitment by Free Syrian Army-affiliated groups or Syrian Kurdish armed groups."

Since March 2011, more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria, including more than 10,000 children, according to the United Nations.

Full report here

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Application Developer / Software Developer

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Brand Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you wish to be part of an exciting journey ...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Anna Woodward: Invoicing Clerk

£21,500: Anna Woodward: The Accounts Payable team for this group is recruiting...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower