Geneva, March 14: Mourning the death of hundreds of children in the ongoing Syrian civil war, the United Nations (UN) stated that 2017 was the "deadliest year" for the minors. "More than 900 children were killed last year in Syria, making 2017 the deadliest year for children in the country's ongoing conflict", a senior UN official told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on Tuesday.
The official warned that the grim statistics may only be the tip of the iceberg. The civil war in Syria started on March 15, 2011. UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis Panos Moumtzis and UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore addressed a high-level panel discussion looking at rights violations against children caught in the fighting, which is entering its eighth year.
"In 2017, documentation of violations of children's rights during the conflict--by all sides--was the highest since the beginning of the conflict. Simply put, 2017 was the deadliest year of the Syrian war for children," Moumtzis told the Council.
The Syria Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism verified that in 2017 alone, at least 910 children were killed and 361 were injured. The large majority of child casualties took place in Idlib, Aleppo and Deir-Ez-Zor, and other locations.
"There is a child and a grieving family behind every single one of these numbers. Verification of additional cases continues and these numbers only provide the tip of the iceberg of the actual case and scale of violence suffered by children in Syria."
The UN estimates that overall, 400,000 people have been killed in Syria, and more than a million injured. The fighting has also pushed more than five million Syrians across the border to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, as well as to Europe and beyond.
Moumtzis informed that children make up over 40 per cent of the 13.1 million people inside Syria who require life-saving humanitarian assistance. And of the more than five million across the country who are in acute need, 663,000 are under the age of five--a figure he described as "shocking."