Syria, child soldiers, and child rape

Originally posted on June 26, 2013

Much of the news in the media concerning Syria focuses on the deteriorating situation. We hear about the Russian involvement, the Syrian military’s power, and the use of chemical weapons. Yet missing from the coverage is the impact this has had on the Syrian people. A recent news report offer a view of that, one that people might not expect:

Syrian troops and rebels are recruiting children to fight in the country’s civil war and some have been tortured by government forces for having links to the opposition, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said in a report on Wednesday.

The report issued after Ban’s special envoy for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, visited Syria in December said thousands of children have been killed in the violence, “while thousands more have seen family members killed or injured.”

The report also said children are recruited, killed, maimed or raped by government forces and armed groups in Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as by armed groups in Mali, Colombia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Iraq and the Central African Republic.

According to the report, the majority of the children are boys. In Syria, the torture and rapes are carried out by Syrian officials and military forces: Continue reading