Responding to a report commissioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in regards to the treatment of children in conflict zones, the Syrian government attacked the UN, claiming economic sanctions, not government forces, are causing true harm to its children.
In a letter penned to Ban, the Syrian government called sanctions “immoral and illegal,” saying sanctions are putting children in harm, not the conflict, according to AL Arabiya News.
The letter comes in reponse to a report by Leila Zerrougui, Ban’s special representative for children and armed conflict, that accused both the Syrian government and rebels of explicitly targeting children with bomb attacks, sexual violence and torture.
"The situation for children in Syria is dire," Zerrougui told the U.N. secutiry council last month.
"My staff and other United Nations colleagues have documented government attacks on schools, children denied access to hospitals, girls and boys suffering and dying in bombardments of their neighborhoods, and also being subject to torture, including sexual violence, sometimes for weeks," she said.
In the letter, released Monday, the Syrian government called the report “unsubstantiated and fraudulent” and diverted blame onto the UN. The government claimed the report was not grounded in facts and was instead based on allegations by the media and opposition groups.
“It is the children who are primarily adversely affected by those sanctions and the challenges they post to the various sectors and, in particular, the health sector,” Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari wrote.
“It is the armed terrorist groups that are violating the rights of the child in Syria and obstructing the evacuation of the injured and sick, children and disabled persons from certain quarters where they are held hostage,” Jaafari wrote.