‘Unspeakable and Unacceptable’ Child Abuse in Syria, UN Report

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | February 6, 2014 6:50 PM EST

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) holds a joint news conference with UN-Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (not pictured) in Montreux January 22, 2014.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) holds a joint news conference with UN-Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (not pictured) in Montreux January 22, 2014.

Ban Ki-moon said that the Syrian government is detaining as well as torturing children suspected having rebel links. The information came as a part of a report by the United Nations Chief on Tuesday. He also added that Syrian opposition groups are backed by Western forces and they are employing refugee children from neighbouring nations.

The Syrian government forces are also accused of imposing serious exploitations against children in the earlier stages of the conflict that has now been running for about three years, according to the U.N. report. Later on, armed opposition went on to become even more organised in the latter stages when the conflict further intensified. The rate of child abuse increased significantly during that phase.

Reuters reported that Mr Ki-moon's report, dated on Jan 27, had been posted on the Internet on Tuesday, Feb 4. The report further called the suffering that the Syrian children had been enduring as "unspeakable and unacceptable". In June 2013, the U.S. administration admitted that it would supply arms to the Syrian rebels. It will be the first time U.S. will arm rebels, it said.

This happens to be the very first report where the problem of child abuse in Syria has been recorded in detail even though the issue has previously been raised a number of times in the past. The report covers the phase of the conflict between March 1, 2011 and Nov 15, 2013. So far, both parties in the conflict were blamed by the U.N. for serious violations against children.

Mr Ki-moon further said that the United Nations was particularly concerned about the employment or attempted employment of children from the refugee populations among neighbouring nations of Syria by Syrian rebel groups. Most of the recruitments were allegedly conducted by Syrian Kurdish armed groups or Free Syrian Army-affiliated groups, the report said.

The Supreme Military Command runs the Free Syrian Army which is allegedly backed by Arab and Western powers. The force was believed to have been formed to dethrone the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. However, the force has apparently been losing the backing from the rebel brigades.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Gary Cameron / )
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) holds a joint news conference with UN-Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (not pictured) in Montreux January 22, 2014.
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