Wed, Sep 26, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Syrian children severely traumatized: aid agency

AFP, AMMAN

A global children’s aid agency warned yesterday that Syrian children are being “badly traumatized” after witnessing killings, torture and other atrocities in their country’s brutal conflict.

Save the Children said it has collected “shocking testimony” revealing that “children have been the targets of brutal attacks, seen the deaths of parents, siblings and other children, and have witnessed and experienced torture.”

“Horrific acts of violence are being committed against children in Syria. These children need specialist care now to help them recover from their shocking experiences,” said Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children. “Their testimonies should also be documented so that those who have perpetrated these violent acts against children are held accountable.”

Released yesterday, Untold Atrocities, a collection of first-hand accounts of the conflict from Syrian children and parents after fleeing their country, contains graphic details of how children have been caught up in Syria’s war, “witnessing massacres and in some cases, experiencing torture.”

The report gave detailed accounts of several children who witnessed horrific atrocities in their country.

“Dead bodies along with injured people were scattered all over the ground. I found body parts all over each other. Dogs were eating the dead bodies for two days after the massacre,” it quoted 14-year-old Hassan as saying.

Another Syrian boy, Wael, 16, said he knew a six-year-old boy who “was tortured more than anyone else ... he only survived for three days and then he simply died.”

The global organization urged the UN to step up its documentation of all violations of children’s rights in Syria.

Save the Children said it has been refused permission to access Syria to help more children, “but much of the children’s testimony corroborates violations documented by the UN and human rights organizations in recent months.”

It added that it was providing emotional support to thousands of children who have fled to neighboring countries, helping them recover from their experiences and rebuild their lives.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 29,000 people have been killed since the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s rule erupted last year. The UN puts the toll at more than 20,000.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR has said more than 250,000 Syrian refugees have been registered in neighboring countries.

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