WORLDPOST

Syria: Children Victim Of Regime Crackdown

01/20/2012 06:18 pm ET | Updated Jan 20, 2012

"I was afraid. My leg went numb and started bleeding, but I carried on walking," 7-year-old Mohammed told the BBC. Mohammed was shot in the knee at a checkpoint set up by Syrian security forces. The boy was with his parents and his twin sister when soldiers opened fire on the family.

Hundreds of children have lost their lives in Syria's brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, and according to the BBC, some of those children were targeted deliberately.

15-year-old Tamar Al Sharee joined a protest in Syria's southern city of Deraa. Fergal Keane reports for the network:

The next time Nawal saw 15-year-old Tamer, his body was grotesquely disfigured by what the family insists was torture. His father found him in a hospital mortuary 40 days after he left home in April last year to attend a demonstration in the southern town of Deraa against his family's wishes.

Slowly piecing together the final days of their son's life, the Shari family learned that he had been taken to the notorious Air Force detention centre near Damascus. His X-rays showed signs of bullet holes and broken bones. Most of his upper front teeth had been knocked out. A fellow detainee has told the BBC he saw Tamer being beaten in custody.

In December, British-based rights group Avaaz said over 6,200 people have been killed since the start of the protests in March 2011. At least 400 of the dead were children, according to the group. Earlier that month, U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay put the number of children killed at 300, The Guardian reports.

U.N. investigators released a report last November which detailed among others Tamar Al Sharee's case. The report quotes a witness who saw the boy lying on the floor of an intelligence facility, completely blue. "He was bleeding profusely from his ear, eyes and nose. He was shouting and calling for his mother and father for help. He fainted after being hit with a rifle butt on the head," the source said.

The report also found that some children in detention had been sexually tortured and a 2-year-old girl was shot to death "just to prevent her from growing up to be a demonstrator," the Associated Press writes. The document concludes that children in Syria have suffered serious violations and that security forces have shown "little or no recognition of the rights of children" in the actions taken to quell dissent.

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