UNICEF calls for all parties to spare children, as UN refugee agency describes situation as children’s refugee crisis – watch this video on Al Jazeera, 2.08 min, Jan 19, 2013.
The United Nations Fund for Children has denounced the increase of violence in Syria, adding that children are paying a terrible price as the near two-year-old conflict drags on.
“UNICEF condemns these latest incidents in the strongest terms, and once again calls on all parties to ensure civilians – and children especially – are spared the effects of the conflict,” the UN agency said on Saturday.
“A series of reports from Syria this week underlines the terrible price children are paying” in a conflict that has convulsed the country for 22 months and left more than 60,000 people dead, according to UN figures.
Maria Calivis, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Media reports today [Friday] from the scene of mass killings in the village of Hasweya outside Homs said whole families were among the dead in horrific circumstances.”
More than half of the more than 600,000 refugees who have sought refuge from the Syrian conflict in neighbouring countries are under the age of 18 and the number of people fleeing could almost double by June, a senior UN official has said.
“This is a children’s refugee crisis. It’s heartbreaking when we see these children arriving and particularly what we see in the days that follow,” Panos Moumtzis, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) regional co-ordinator for Syrian refugees, said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists and medics fort its information, has documented 3,538 children killed since the start of the revolt in March 2011. It also gave a toll of 2,031 women killed in the violence.
A UN delegation, including some UNICEF representatives, has arrived in the capital, Damascus. It is touring areas around the city, and places hit by some of the worst violence, like Homs and the village of Hasweya.
Earlier this week, activists reported 106 people – including many women and children – were burnt alive in their homes in the village.
There are conflicting reports about who is responsible.
Daraya shelling: … //
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