Daily Israel Report

Syria War Has Killed More than 11,000 Children, Finds New Report

More than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war, says a British think-tank.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/25/2013, 6:15 AM

Destruction in Homs (archive)
Destruction in Homs (archive)
AFP photo

More than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war, including 128 killed by chemical weapons in a notorious attack and hundreds targeted by snipers, a British think-tank said Sunday, according to AFP.

The Oxford Research Group, which specializes in global security, said in a new study that there were 11,420 recorded deaths of children aged 17 years and under.

The report, entitled "Stolen Futures: The hidden toll of child casualties in Syria", analyses data from the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 until August 2013.

The think-tank added that, of the 10,586 children whose cause of death was recorded, 128 were killed by chemical weapons in Ghouta, near Damascus, on August 21,2013.

The attack was blamed by the United States and other world powers on President Bashar Al-Assad's regime. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said following the attack that it had killed at least 1,400 people, including some 400 children.

The think-tank added on Sunday that 764 children were summarily executed and 389 were killed by sniper fire in the conflict.

Explosive weapons have caused more than 70 percent of the child deaths, while small arms fire accounts for more than a quarter, according to the study cited by AFP.

"What is most disturbing about the findings of this report is not only the sheer numbers of children killed in this conflict, but the way they are being killed," said report co-author Hamit Dardagan.

"Bombed in their homes, in their communities, during day-to-day activities such as waiting in bread lines or attending school; shot by bullets in crossfire, targeted by snipers, summarily executed, even gassed and tortured.

"All conflict parties need to take responsibility for the protection of children, and ultimately find a peaceful solution for the war itself."

The Oxford Research Group added that the number of boys killed outnumbered girls killed by a ratio of about two to one.

Children in older age groups were targeted more often than younger children. Boys aged between 13-17 years old were the most frequent victims of targeted killings, the think-tank has found.

"The data we analyzed indicates that bombs and bullets alone ended the lives of ten thousand Syrian children in 30 months of war," added Dardagan.

"The world needs to take a much closer interest in the effects of the conflict on Syria's children."

A video released Sunday illustrates the impossible reality of the life children live in Syria.

The video was shot in the Jubar neighborhood of Damascus, which suffers from shelling by the Syrian military. The children, aged up to 12 or 13, are standing in the street and telling the cameraman about their harsh experiences during the civil war, and about injuries to other children that they have witnessed.

As they are speaking, a loud explosion takes place close to where the group is standing, and thick smoke envelops the street. The children and the cameraman run away from the location and the filming resumes again in a safer place, in one of the homes nearby.

Atrocities have been committed both by Assad’s troops as well as by rebels fighting to oust him.

Several months ago, a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Assad’s regime was publicly beheaded, with the execution filmed and posted to the Internet for all to see.

In another recent incident, Jihadist rebels in Syria had to ask for "understanding and forgiveness" after they beheaded the wrong man.

Some of the Islamist groups have attempted to soften their image in an attempt to win hearts and minds - holding stand up comedy shows and handing out toys to local children.