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SYRIA New report by UN cites ‘unspeakable suffering’ for children



Published: Thu, February 6, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

BEIRUT

Children in Syria have been tortured, sexually abused and subjected to “indiscriminate” attacks by President Bashar Assad’s forces, and recruited for combat and terror operations by the rebels fighting to topple him during the country’s nearly 3-year-old conflict, a new United Nations report said.

The report to the U.N. Security Council by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlights the plight of children in the conflict from the beginning of the uprising against Assad in March 2011 until Nov. 15, 2013. It was given to the council this week and posted on the U.N. website Tuesday.

Ban said Syrian children have been subjected to “unspeakable and unacceptable” suffering during that time. “Violations must come to an end now,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government missed another deadline for destroying its chemical weapons Wednesday, but pledged to complete the process by June 30 as promised.

Under a timetable set up by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Syria was to have given up its entire stockpile of chemical weapons by Wednesday. Last week, a U.S. diplomat said Syria had removed only 4 percent of its most deadly chemicals so far. All should have been removed by Dec. 31 under the framework.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad said the U.S. is fully committed to the process.

“Difficulties facing Syria, particularly in the framework of the country’s war on terrorism, could hinder the implementation of some commitments from time to time,” he said Wednesday, according to SANA.

A day earlier, he rejected U.S. criticism for its slow pace in moving the chemicals out of the country, calling the accusations “baseless and unfair.”

According to the U.N. report, Syrian forces have also been responsible for the arrest, arbitrary detention, ill treatment and torture of children in detention facilities.

Children in government custody have reportedly suffered beatings with metal cables, whips and wooden and metal batons, electric shock and sexual violence, including rape or threats of rape, mock executions, cigarette burns, sleep deprivation and solitary confinement, it said.

Children as young as 10 have been detained by the authorities on suspicion of having links with armed groups, the report said.


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