News / Middle East

    UN: Syrian Children Undergo 'Unspeakable' Horrors

    Children play in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 4, 2014.
    Children play in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Feb. 4, 2014.
    VOA News
    The first United Nations report on the plight of children in Syria describes what it calls "unspeakable" horrors carried out against youngsters by both sides of the conflict.

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is demanding that all such violations of the rights of children stop now.

    The report released Tuesday accuses Syrian government forces of arresting and torturing children, in part, to put pressure on their families.

    It says children as young as 11 have been beaten, whipped, raped, and chained to walls.

    The report also says rebel groups have recruited children for combat and support roles and engaged in summary executions of children.

    Syrian Refugees by Country

    • Lebanon: 909,639
    • Jordan: 596,800
    • Turkey: 594,854
    • Iraq: 217,144
    • Egypt: 133,267

    Source: UNHCR
    Neither side has yet to respond to the U.N. report.

    Syrian activist groups say a government airstrike on a mosque in Aleppo being used as a school killed five people Tuesday while the state-run news agency says a terrorist shell killed a woman and a child.

    The Syrian government uses the word "terrorist" to describe the rebels.

    Syrian forces have been slowly advancing into rebel-held areas of Aleppo which were seized by the opposition in 2012.

    Also Tuesday, Russian officials said they expect the Syrian government to resume peace talks with the opposition next week. The first round of talks in Geneva ended Friday with little progress.

    Also Tuesday, Russian state media quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying Syria plans to remove a large shipment of chemical weapons this month.

    The shipments are part of a plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons by the middle of the year. U.S. officials last week criticized Syria for what they said was the slow pace at which the process is progressing.

    • A man waves his arms at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in the al-Shaar district, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
    • A man walks at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in the al-Shaar district, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
    • A boy sits next to a trolley containing belongings at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
    • Civilians carry their belongings as they walk at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, a passageway separating the Bustan al-Qasr district, which is under the rebels' control and the Al-Masharqa district, an area controlled by the Assad regime, Aleppo, Feb.  9, 2014. 
    • People wheel a sick man on a makeshift stretcher at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, Aleppo, Feb. 9, 2014. 
    • Boys walk along a damaged street in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, Feb. 6, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter sits amid the rubble of damaged buildings in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria, Feb. 6, 2014.
    • People sit on the top of a truck at the Syrian border crossing of Bab al-Hawa, at the Syrian-Turkish border, Feb. 6, 2014.
    • Fighters from the Amjad al-Islam brigades stand near an improvised artillery weapon in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter holds a teapot as he runs to avoid snipers in Deir al-Zor, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • People walk along a street as men ride on a motorcycle in Deir al-Zor, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • Free Syrian Army fighters take cover during the launch of a homemade rocket towards forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad near the Justice Palace and the Citadel of Aleppo, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • A man pulls a trolley as a woman walks behind at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing, a passageway separating Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr, which is under the rebels' control and Al-Masharqa neighborhood, an area controlled by the regime, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows a U.N. relief worker giving food supplies to a Palestinian woman in a wheelchair at the gate of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp on the southern edge of Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.
    • This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows residents of the besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp carrying their belongings as they flee the camp on the southern edge of Damascus, Feb. 4, 2014.

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