The United Nations marks June 4 as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, and the suffering of Syrian children is in the spotlight.
Millions of children were displaced and more than 29,000 children were killed by the Syrian regime and its supporters during the Syrian civil war waging on since 2011, a report by Anadolu Agency (AA) and the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) noted.
The United Nations marks the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression on June 4 every year to draw attention to the plight of children in conflict zones. This year once again, the world is reminded that the children pay a heavy toll for war.
The international day was first proposed at an emergency special session on the question of Palestine, but unfortunately it still is relevant today, especially pertaining to the plight of children in Syria.
According to the United Nations, the purpose of the day is “to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse,” affirming “the UN's commitment to protect the rights of children.”
The situation in Syria
Russia conducted air strikes on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning in support of Syrian regime forces for the first time since a ceasefire was arranged with the help of Turkey in March.
At the time, Ankara and Moscow had come to an agreement on a protocol to have all parties “cease all military actions along the line of contact in the Idlib de-escalation area.”
The strikes hit the area at the boundary of Hama, Idlib and Latakia provinces, and caused a new wave of displacement, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
As recently as Tuesday morning, Turkey and Russia had been going on joint patrols along the M4 highway, also known as the Aleppo-Al Hasakah road, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Turkey's southern border.
The Russian air strikes have caused a new wave of displacement in Syria.
According to United Nations’ data, Anadolu Agency reports that a total of 6.7 million Syrians, including 2.5 million children, had to leave their country due to the civil war. The UN reports the number of ‘registered refugees' at 5,555,530 across Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and other countries.
More than 29,000 children killed
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) which documents human rights violations against civilians and Turkey’s own Anadolu Agency (AA), have prepared a special report discussing children ravaged by the civil war in Syria.
According to the joint report of SNHR and AA, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in March 2011, at least 29,296 children have been killed by the parties to the conflict, while many others were injured or disabled.
The report puts the number of child deaths at 22,853 by the Syrian regime and 2,005 due to Russian air strikes.
The terrorist organisation YPG/PKK which goes by the name of SDF in Syria has killed 223 children while Daesh has killed 956 children.
1,053 children were killed by armed opposition and anti-regime groups while the Global Coalition Against Daesh was responsible for the deaths of 924 children. 1,282 children were killed by unknown parties.
Victims of chemical weapons
According to the report by SNHR and AA, 205 children were victims of chemical attacks by the Assad regime, which has conducted 217 such attacks since the beginning of the civil war, even though chemical attacks are outlawed by international conventions.
Moreover, the Assad regime tortured 173 children to death.
AA has reported that at least 4,816 children are imprisoned by warring factions.
According to the report, while 3,561 children are held at regime prisons, YPG/PKK terrorists have captured 602 children. What’s more, Daesh, which is trying to keep what little influence over Syria it has, is keeping 319 children hostage.
Armed opposition and anti-regime groups are holding 334 children in custody.
“Although the actual figures for Syrian orphans are not known due to the continuous relocation of refugees, it is estimated that almost 1 million children became orphans due to the war,” says a recent report by Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation’s (IHH) subsidiary INSAMER.
The same report also mentions that “Due to the civil war in Syria, which is considered the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II, 9,200,000 children under the age of 18 lost their homes or families.”